Standards will at some point have to be lowered to satisfy those who want more women in combat roles, Marine Gen. John Kelly said at a recent Defense Department press conference
Kelly, who is head of Southern Command, was asked to address a report conducted for the Marine Corps
that mixed-gender units were less lethal, slower and more prone to injuries than all-male units.
Kelly said his personal belief is that all decisions made by the Armed Forces should be based on whether those decisions would make forces more lethal on the battlefield, since fighting the nation's wars is their mission.
"Will it result in less casualties on our side?" he asked. "Will it end up in less casualties on the other side, because they're human beings, too. Some of them very much deserve to be killed but others don't, and so that's the filter."
If the answer is that it make forces more lethal than it should be done, and if no then it shouldn't be done, Kelly said, adding, "If the answer to that is, it shouldn't hurt, I would suggest that we shouldn't do it, because it might hurt."
But since Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered all combat roles open to women
, "you simply do it," Kelly said.
"My greatest fear — and we see this happen a lot over the 45 years I've been in the armed forces is, right now they're saying we are not going to change any standards," he said.
"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?"
If standards are not lowered for women, they won't see the same amount of advancement as men, he said, which will eventually bring pressure to lower standards in the future.
"The other aspect is, because of the nature of infantry combat, infantry training, and all of rest, there's a higher percentage of young women in the scientific study that get hurt, and some of them get hurt forever," Kelly said.
"So I think it will be the pressure for not probably the generals that are here now, but for the generals to come, and admirals, to lower standards," he said, "because that's the only way it'll work in the way that I hear some people, particularly the agenda-driven people here in Washington — or in the land, the way they want it to work."
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