Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) of San Diego is calling on Defense Secretary Ash Carter to replace Navy Secretary Ray Mabus over a demand that the Marine Corps integrate recruit training by gender.
“According to reports, the Marine Corps will not be forced to integrate recruit training, as the Secretary of the Navy has directed without either consultation on coordination with Marine Corps leaders,” Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran, wrote in a Tuesday letter to Carter published by local ABC News affiliate 10 News.
Carter directed last December that the military should integrate women into combat roles, according to the Associated Press. On January 1, Mabus gave the Marines a January 15 deadline to come up with an integration plan and implement that plan by April 1.
Hunter’s letter asks Carter to “provide assurance that recruit training and Officer Candidate School will continue operating as they have, without any such disruption to the reliable and effective organization and methods for developing an training Marines.” It added:
The fact that the Navy Secretary imposed a requirement to integrate recruit training, which until January 1, 2016, was not even discussed or considered, and then provided only 15-days to develop a plan to do so, continues to undermine the ability of the Navy Secretary to lead the men and women of the Marine Corps and earn their respect. Unfortunately, the only way this relationship can be repaired, I believe, is through the leadership of a new Navy Secretary–specifically one who does not regularly make a point to undercut the Marine Corps, distract it from its mission and insult its leaders.
As a potential replacement for the Navy Secretary, I suggest considering anyone of the 20,668 Marine Corps officers currently serving on active duty.
Marine General John Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, predicted that Defense Department vows to maintain the same standards regardless of gender would not last. “There will be great pressure, whether it’s 12 months from now, four years from now, because the question will be asked whether we’ve let women into these other roles, why aren’t they staying in those other roles? Why aren’t they advancing as infantry people?” Kelly told reporters at the Pentagon in early January.
In a January 8 editorial for Fox News, Hunter cited the process used to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” in lobbying for the acknowledgement of a Marine Corps study on integrating women into combat specialties.
“For infantry units and other roles that are primarily tasked with locating and destroying the enemy– to include special operations– opening these roles to women would signify not only a major cultural shift, but it could undercut the cohesion and operability of warfighters at the tip of the spear,” he said.
Hunter went on to say that the Secretary of the Navy had insulted the men and women of the Marine Corps.
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