Our military has one mission - win on the battlefield.
But that mission has become secondary for the Obama administration. As Obama said the other day, we now have "peace in our time." Let us hope that line, with its historic connotations, is not prophetic.
For the Obama administration, the military, or at least what will remain of it in four years, has become the proving grounds for his favored political experiments. In the past four years, we have seen the Obama administration, without hearings or studies as to the impact on readiness, open up the military to openly gay soldiers and force the Navy to become our nation's largest consumer of green fuels at astronomical cost. And now, today:
Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.
The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.
A senior military official says the services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. Some jobs may open as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer.
The official said the military chiefs must report back to Panetta with their initial implementation plans by May 15. The announcement on Panetta's decision is not expected until Thursday, so the official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Panetta's move expands the Pentagon's action nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. This decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women.
As a preface to what I am about to say, let me note that my daughter joined the military and served in a combat support unit. I am immensely proud of her.
I have no problem with women in the military in a support or combat service support role, where their mission is to support those in active combat, not to engage in it. I have no problems with women in combat roles for which they are physically as capable as men - i.e., pilots, both fixed and rotary wing, perhaps in select field artillery units where physical strength and stamina are not required in large measure. I have no idea about tanks. I cannot see them every being allowed in infantry units, either conventional or special ops. Having served in the infantry and commanded a light infantry company, I can tell you without doubt that it is a physically grueling lifestyle beyond the imagining of most people. It is one that requires not merely strength and incredible stamina, but physical resilience to be able to maintain such rigors on a daily basis, month in and month out.
This from JD Johannes accurately captures my point:
Marine Officer Katie Petronio wrote abut the struggle of physical reslience during her deployment to Afghanistan commanding a Combat Engineering platoon in Afghanistan.
"By the fifth month into the deployment, I had muscle atrophy in my thighs that was causing me to constantly trip and my legs to buckle with the slightest grade change. My agility during firefights and mobility on and off vehicles and perimeter walls was seriously hindering my response time and overall capability. It was evident that stress and muscular deterioration was affecting everyone regardless of gender; however, the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines..."
Her rate of deterioration was faster because she only produced a fraction of the muscle repairing testosterone of the male Marines. Petronio, who was a varsity athlete in college and "benching 145 pounds when I graduated [college] in 2007" was falling apart at the fifth month of her deployment. Army units deployed for 12 months until recently.
Many elite female athletes can outperform male soldiers when the women have adequate rest, recovery time and nutrition--but rest, recovery and proper nutrition are in short supply at Combat Outpost Zerok. Combat is not like sports season where you only have one or two games a week for three months, or training for one or two big events a year. It is every day for 365 days, then a period of recovery before resuming pre-deployment training and then another 365 days.
This is not a decision being driven my military necessity. Nor is it a decision being driven with effectiveness of the military in mind. This is purely a political decision - one that will cost our nation in the long run, as we simultaneously defund our military and change it into a laboratory for left wing social experiments.