Tags: combat | women | British Defense Ministry | capability

British Report: Women's Capability in Combat Questioned

By    |   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 03:54 PM

As the U.S. military moves forward with requirements to integrate female soldiers into combat units by 2016, a new report from the British Ministry of Defense finds that in terms of women's capability for combat and their effect on combat units, it's probably not a very good idea.

In fact, the report states that women will have lower survivability in combat, less capability of performing arduous battle tasks than men, will likely be less effective at killing the enemy due to lower stamina and endurance than male soldiers and would have a negative effect on unit cohesiveness, the Washington Times reports.

"These [deficits] are about biology rather than character," the report states.

The report comes as the Pentagon has stated it will lift exemptions on women serving in infantry, armor and artillery units by January, National Public Radio reports.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James assured the House Armed Services Committee "we are on track to meet the deadlines. And I personally have received kind of interim update about how it’s all going. And I feel pretty good about it," the Washington Times notes.

Both the Army and the Marines are running tests to determine whether women can hack it in the most demanding areas of military service involving face-to-face combat with the enemy.

However, the Center for Military Readiness (CMR) insists that the British report shows that "the case for women in direct ground combat still has not been made."

In assessing the likely effectiveness of women in combat roles, the British researchers "studied 21 factors that contribute to CE [combat effectiveness], of which physiology and team cohesion are the most relevant.

"The review assessed that one of the factors will be improved by the inclusion of
women, seven are neutral or multi-directional, 11 are likely to have a negative impact on CE and, in two, the impact was unknown.

"In three of the 11 negative factors, mitigation would be a significant challenge. These are survivability, morbidity and deployability, much of which are predicated by physiology."

The report continued, "In general, women have smaller hearts, about 30 percent less muscle, slighter skeletal structure and wider pelvic bones, resulting in less
explosive power and upper body strength" and increased vulnerability to injury.

"The physiological differences between the sexes disadvantage women in strength-based and aerobic fitness tests by 20 to 40 percent," the report states.

"Logic would argue that major problems affecting combat effectiveness could and should be avoided by retaining current policies that exempt women from direct ground combat units such as the infantry, armor, artillery and special operations forces," the CMR said in a report.

"Nor is it likely that potential adversaries would be impressed or deterred by gender diversity in a British military that accepts degraded CE for the sake of ideological goals," CMR notes.

CMR termed the British report, which called for further study, an attempt to "soft-peddle inconvenient facts," and Elaine Donnelly, CMR president, told the Times, "There are no benefits balancing the weight of costs and risks that detract from combat readiness and effectiveness."

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As the U.S. military moves forward with requirements to integrate female soldiers into combat units by 2016, a new report from the British Ministry of Defense finds that in terms of women's capability for combat and their effect on combat units, it's probably not a good idea.
combat, women, British Defense Ministry, capability
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2015-54-19
Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 03:54 PM
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