Even though women are eligible for combat roles and have earned the Ranger Tab, the military still isn’t a level playing field for men and women. Military leaders who say that women can do whatever men can are just sucking up for promotions; it’s still clearly an unequal environment. I have a few suggestions to help them put their money where their politically-correct mouths are: go Full Metal Equality, with concrete actions for fair and effective results, and quit giving just lip service to a gender-neutral force.
Equality in the draft
Of course! Rostker Vs Goldberg, in 1981 made very clear that the only real barrier to full Selective Service participation was the exclusion of women from combat roles. With Ash Carter’s decision to put women into combat roles, it’s time to get women in the draft. Concomitant with this, of course, is having the same consequences that men face for not registering.
For men, not registering means not being eligible for federal student aid, state-funded student financial aid in many states, most federal employment, some state employment, security clearance for contractors, job training under the Workforce Investment Act, and U.S. citizenship for immigrant men. Further, failing to register or comply with the Military Selective Service Act is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both. Obviously, this should apply to women too.
Unfortunately, faced with the reality of consequences, some women now advocate getting rid of the draft. What, it was ok for men but not with the braver, newer, more-equal military?
Equality in standards
Absolutely. The military, all parties agree, should not lower standards for women. The only realistic way to do this is to abolish sex-specific training, clothing, and grooming standards. Bye-bye, discriminatory 42 and 19 push-ups, earrings, and haircut styles! There is only one standard in combat, and there should be one standard for training: whatever the position requires. An infantryperson is an infantryperson; a tanker is a tanker. Job-normed standards will prevent discrimination and ensure we have equality on the battlefield instead of situations like this:
Training also needs to be fully integrated. When I was at West Point long ago, women were prevented from gaining the benefits of all the physical training offered to men, like mandatory boxing classes. This is discriminatory when any women can now end up on the battlefield in a combat role. Classes like boxing and others designed to build fitness and the “warrior spirit” need to be open to and integrated with men and women, like both would face on the battlefield, and graded the same. Denying the value of this training to women is tantamount to saying that the Army doesn’t actually think they can compete with men; it’s the soft bigotry of low expectations. Don’t want that, do we?
Equality in advancement and careers
The Army does promotions with groups of officers and those enlisted through Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs). OERs have discrimination-inviting fields like “name” and text write-ups about accomplishments. Most promotion board members are men, but that doesn’t mean that they need to know who they’re evaluating. The “name” portion should be stricken, with the only identifying information on the form being just the Social Security Number. The last four digits of the number would suffice in place of the name and other identifying pronouns in the text write-ups of fields like “Comment on specific aspects of the performance…” or “Comment on potential for promotion.”
There’s also the Officer Record Brief (ORB) and Enlisted Record Brief (ERB), which have pictures and relevant record information. In the words of Dept. of the Army:
4. How it is used The ORB is used by personnel managers… to gain an initial impression of an officer’s qualifications and career history and as a “road map” to the Officer Evaluation Reports (OER) and other documents… Other individuals also use the ORB to form an image of the officer’s experience and qualifications…the ORB is one of the primary management tools used in determining where to assign officers.
That just screams “Use me to discriminate!” So get rid of the soldier’s picture on the form and name and any other gender or race-identifying text or clues like sex, spouses, and picture. People making career, assignment, and school determinations don’t need to know that stuff. They do need to know prior assignments and qualifications, and we’ve already agreed that sex is no longer a qualification for anything in the military. The best will rise to the top, male or female, and there will be no discrimination or preferences involved.
Lastly, the military needs to do branching under one sex-neutral system. For officers, some branches were closed to women, while men who didn’t get their first choices in branch assignments were force-slotted into less-desirable branches, which were often combat arms. Allowing men more access to the fast-promoting combat arms is clearly discriminatory. One system; no preferential treatment. That’s equality.
Equality in biology
By making it through Ranger School, which is extended time in a dirty, nasty, exhausting environment, women did away with a whole passel of stereotypes about privacy and behavior. It’s time to go Starship Troopers and get rid of dual-sex housing and accommodations. Heinlein’s political system can come later, but what’s clearly not needed is a divisive, discriminatory housing and benefits policy.
However, since we know that sometimes boys will be boys and girls will be girls, we do have to deal with pregnancy. Major General Tony Cucolo was a bit ahead of his time in Iraq when he proposed UCMJ legal action and penalties for women who got pregnant and the men who helped out, but it’s time to revisit that.
Pregnancy is a force degrader, especially around deployment time. Studies, even before the Iraq/Afghanistan wars (for instance, “The Impact of Pregnancy on US Army Readiness”), show that the staffing gaps caused by pregnant women are big problems. It’s time to treat pregnancy for what it is in a combat environment—malingering. Malingering involves intentionally disabling oneself to avoid work, duty, or service.
In the age of consent, contraception, and abortifacients, that sounds like pregnancy; there is zero excuse for getting pregnant while deployed or getting pregnant after deployment is scheduled. In addition to the legal punishment, further mandate contraception or abortion for female service members who get pregnant in or around combat, or after deployments are announced.
The Army needs to recognize this as an unequal condition. Women now get 12 weeks of maternity leave by regulation and are non-deployable for 6 months if they’re pregnant. Men can’t get pregnant and get months of paternity leave when they’re doing their combat jobs. In fact, men only get 14 days of paternity leave, and that’s not equal. If we’re going for equality, as feminists state, then women shouldn’t be able to play the “pregnancy” or “maternity” cards while in selfless service to their country and their fellow soldiers.
My proposal list above is short, but addresses the core concerns with the gender-neutral agenda voiced across military and civilian discourse: selective service, standards, careers, and combat effectiveness. It excises privilege, special access, and special benefits. We’d see the best and most capable rank-ordered into positions and training, regardless of sex or anything else. Anyone against the items on this list is obviously against equality and combat effectiveness, and if they’re against those, you should ask them why.
We know the answer. Feminists want all of the privileges and none of the responsibility for results. They want to inflict their notions on innocent people, heedless of the consequences. But if they want equality, the least we can do is make sure everyone gets it, good and hard, and put the ugly impacts of the feminist agenda for the military on full display.
Being in the military isn’t all about promotions and badges and free day-care. It’s about winning wars, and the shameful conduct of our nation’s military leaders—with the exception of the Marines leadership—in completely capitulating to feminist political correctness will cost lives and victories.