TESTIMONY OF ELAINE DONNELLY

PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR MILITARY READINESS
HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SUB-COMMITTEE ON PERSONNEL
2141 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 1998


Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am President of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization that studies and reports on military personnel issues. We receive no government funding, and are supported by civilian, active duty, and retired military people in all 50 states.

I appreciate the opportunity to testify on the subjects analyzed by the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, chaired by former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker. Unlike other official committees that came to different conclusions, this advisory committee produced a concise and constructive report that reflects independent thinking, common sense, sound priorities, and a significant shift in informed opinion.

In CMR's view, the purpose of basic training is not to advance a civilian feminist agenda, or to teach men and women to get along, but to impose a cultural shock that transforms young civilians--many of whom have not experienced real discipline before--into uniformed members of the armed forces. Basic training provides the first building block in a process that builds physical strength and discipline essential for successful transitioning into advanced training.

Basic training must be focused on basic, primary objectives. Instructors should be free to concentrate on the quality and efficiency of training programs for both men and women, without unnecessary distractions. For this reason, CMR concurs with the Kassebaum Baker Committee's recommendation that male and female recruits be separated in barracks and small basic training units. Such a change would not solve all problems, but it would be a modest step in the right direction.

In 1992, the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, on which I served, found that gender-integrated basic training was a failure. After a five year trial, the experiment was ended in 1982 for two basic reasons: Men were not attaining their full potential because they were not being physically challenged enough, and women were suffering injuries at far greater rates than men.

That should have settled the issue. But in 1994, civilian Pentagon appointees led by Army Secretary Togo D. West, Jr., and Sara Lister, then-Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, decided to revive the failed experiment. Gender-integrated basic training was one of several collateral policy changes that were imposed shortly after then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin changed assignment rules affecting women, in order to provide more career opportunities. Advocates of the change should have been required to show how revival of the discredited program would enhance the basic training program in military terms, but no such case was made. Instead, skeptics are being asked to disprove a case that has not been made.

The entire issue has been reduced to a vacuous and illogical slogan: Gender-integrated training is necessary because "We must train as we fight." No one seems to notice that if we fight as we train--burdened with unprecedented disciplinary problems, gender-normed double standards, high drop-out rates, and other problems that our potential enemies don't have--America's armed forces will be in deep trouble.

Proponents have either denied the problems observed by the Kassebaum Baker Committee, or argue that they are justified in the pursuit of women's equality. To avoid admitting failure, they have simply redefined success. Physical training components have been reduced or gender-normed, less-demanding requirements have been given greater importance, and focus groups measure emotions in civilian terms. The case for co-ed training focuses primarily on women, rather than the military as a whole.

Despite such efforts, the negative results of gender-integrated training are now apparent and too troubling to ignore. In exchange for benefits that range from non-existent to minimal at best, co-ed training and sleeping arrangements have led to rampant sexual indiscipline at Army training bases around the country, universal bewilderment about appropriate behavior, gender-normed standards that reduce the challenge for men, an alarming decline in recruiting numbers (except in the Marine Corps), and serious deficiencies in advanced training that may be related to distractions in basic training.

Despite these indicators of serious trouble, Pentagon officials continue to assure Congress and the media that gender-integration policies are working just fine. Problems associated with physical differences and discipline are ignored, rationalized, or blamed on a failure of "leadership." Such pronouncements should be viewed with skepticism, because uniformed and civilian military officials are expected to support administration policies, or resign.

Declarations of "success" are almost always couched in terms of women's opportunities or morale. Those are valid considerations, but in CMR's view, the morale and career prospects of women alone should not be given priority over readiness, combat efficiency and ultimately, national security. Uniformed women cannot succeed if the military itself does not succeed.

Kassebaum Baker Report More Credible than Others

Several reports on gender-integrated training have been issued since the scandal at Aberdeen, including the Army's Senior Review Panel Report, the Defense Department's RAND study, congressional testimony by military leaders in charge of training, the Kassebaum Baker Report, and a critique of that report issued by the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). For reasons discussed in more detail elsewhere in my testimony, the Kassebaum Baker report is the most credible to date:

  • Unlike Army Secretary Togo West's Senior Review Panel, the Kassebaum Baker Committee was composed of members who were largely independent of the current administration, and had little or no direct involvement in the formulation or implementation of current policies. (See Section B, p. 12)
  • Unlike the Defense Department's 1997 RAND study on gender integration, the Kassebaum Baker report did not "scrub" its own study by deleting the most troublesome findings. Rather, the report appears to reflect actual information and opinions gathered in the field. (See Section C, p. 14 and Attachment A)
  • Unlike members of the DACOWITS--who rarely hear dissenting views and who limit their hearings and recommendations to matters of equal opportunity and women's career opportunities--members of the Kassebaum Baker Commission addressed the issue in terms of military readiness. (See Section D, p. 16)
  • Unlike the service chiefs and uniformed officials in charge of training, most of whom expressed enthusiastic support for co-ed training at one-sided congressional hearings last year, Kassebaum Baker Committee members were not constrained by the politics of the Pentagon, where dissent from administration policy is simply not an option. (See Section E, p. 18)

With commendable common sense, the Kassebaum Baker Commission unanimously recommended that gender-integration in small units be discontinued at basic and advanced training facilities. Members also rejected unrealistic, make-shift remedies for problems related to co-ed living arrangements, such as the so-called "no-talk, no touch" rules that forbid male/female glances of longer than three seconds. Additionally, the committee transcended political correctness by recommending tough penalties for persons making intentionally false accusations of sexual misconduct.

To have produced their remarkable report, commission members must have heard compelling testimony out in the field, indicating that co-ed training is causing more problems than it is worth. How else to explain the quiet but firm news conference statement of Deval L. Patrick, former Justice Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, that the housing of young men and women in co-ed barracks tends to detract from good order and discipline.

It was also a surprise to see a former Vice-Chair and current member of DACOWITS, Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton and retired Navy enlisted woman Ginger Lee Simpson, endorsing a report declaring that "The present organizational structure in integrated basic training is resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion and more distraction from training programs."

The advisory committee also called for better procedures to screen drill sergeants, enforcement of policies against disparaging references to gender, consistent fraternization rules, and tougher physical standards. Most of these goals are laudable, even though they may be more difficult to implement than they appear. To achieve these goals, more will have to be done about current policies that ignore physical differences and sexual attractions between men and women.

There are other areas where the Kassebaum Baker report did not go far enough. The committee noted, for example, that pressures on recruiters to meet monthly accession goals is having an adverse impact on quality, and approximately a third of enlistees in the military fail to complete their first tours of duty. The committee made a sensible recommendation that the services link the recruiter's "credit" for a given recruit to that person's performance in basic training. A call to end high recruiting quotas for young women, whose attrition rates are higher, would have made the goal easier to attain.

The committee's recommendations have been viewed as similar to the Marines' training program, but there are significant differences. Unlike the Kassebaum Baker plan, which would have male and female platoons competing against each other, the Marines separate enlisted men and women almost totally. The committee also might have taken their study further by questioning co-ed field accommodations, which have become commonplace, and by taking a look at current assignment policies placing women in or near previously-closed combat units.

A. The Flawed Case for Gender-Integrated Training

In considering the various reports and recommendations before them, members of Congress should not only consider the advantages of single-gender training in a military context, but also scrutinize the flawed arguments being used to promote continuation of gender-integrated basic training. Primary arguments are summarized and answered as follows:

1. The GAO Report

Argument
:
According to a June 1996 General Accounting Office report, co-ed basic training is "better" for women, men, and the armed forces as a whole. Co-ed training improves performance, and there is no evidence to the contrary.

Answer
:
The June 1996 GAO report frequently quoted by proponents of gender-integrated training (GAO/NSIAD-96-153) does not support this claim. The thin document, which incorporated several blank pages and reprints of letters of inquiry to fill its 13 pages, was virtually content-free. The GAO report also failed to inform the reader about reasons why gender-integrated basic training, which was tried during the late 1970s, was declared a failure and discontinued in 1982. (See footnotes 1 and 2)

2. Army Research Institute (ARI) Studies

Argument
:
In a 3 year study of gender-integrated training, the Army Research Institute (ARI) found that gender-integrated training improves performance among men as well as women.

Answer
:
ARI's 3 year study of gender-integrated training, released in February of 1997, does not support the assertion that gender-integration significantly improves training for everyone. Nor does it provide evidence that co-ed basic training enhances combat skills. ARI's reported "success" was defined by focus groups, and the terms of measurement related to sociology, not military realities.

Pentagon directives to repeal women's combat exemptions, and to reinstate co-ed basic training, created a problem for the Army and its civilian consultants. What to do about potentially high injury rates among female recruits? The answer was to finesse the problem by de-emphasizing physical requirements, and re-defining "success" with training criteria that would not disadvantage women.

The Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, a field operating agency under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, was charged to evaluate pilot co-ed programs that were reinstated at Fort Jackson and Fort Leonard Wood, starting in 1993. ARI's report assessed results in three phases--1993, 1994, and 1995--and reached its conclusions by a) Measuring skills that are not physically demanding; b) Gender-norming scores on the few tests that do require physical strength; and c) Giving inordinate weight to the results of focus group interviews conducted by sociologists. Conclusions about the ARI study, as well as the GAO Report cited above, may be considered opinion, at best, and probably over-stated.

In all phases, ARI declared the programs successful by re-defining "proficiency" and the "soldierization" process in terms of women's morale, instead of military necessity. For example:

  • Individual Proficiency Tests (IPT) administered as part of the Basic Combat Training (BCT) Course have more to do with basic medical skills than "combat" requirements. The following 20 IPT skills used to measure proficiency include no physical elements that might put women at a disadvantage, but instead measure tasks that women perform well, such as first aid techniques, map-reading, and putting on protective gear:

1. Put on, wear, and remove a protective mask; 2. Nerve agent antidote to self; 3. Recognize/react to an NBC hazard; 4. Decontaminate skin and equipment; 5. Nerve agent antidote to buddy; 6. Determine magnetic azimuth; 7. Measure distance on a map; 8. Apply field pressure dressing; 9. Put on a tourniquet; 10. Treat for shock; 11. Evaluate a casualty; 12. Splint a suspected fracture; 13. Perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; 14. Clear an object from throat; 15. Correct malfunctioning M16A1/A2; 16. React to challenge and password; 17. Employ a claymore mine; 18. Prepare AT-4 for firing; 19. Misfire procedures for AT-4; 20. Battle sight zero M16A1.

  • To the extent that physical components remain, scores are gender-normed. At the reception battalion, male soldiers must perform 13 push-ups and female soldiers must perform 1 push-up. If a soldier is not able to perform at that level, he or she may be assigned to a fitness company for as long as 21 days. Male soldiers must complete 20 push-ups and female soldiers must complete 6 push-ups in order to advance to a training battalion.
  • Such adjustments are considered necessary because female trainees are considerably less strong and have far less aerobic capacity and stamina than male trainees.
  • Requirements for graduation are also gender-normed and flexible. In fact, members of a congressional delegation visiting Fort Leonard Wood recently learned that there are separate gender-specific standards for the throwing of hand-grenades, primarily because comprehensive tests at Parris Island in 1987 and 1990 found that 45% of female Marines could not throw a live grenade safely beyond the 15 meter bursting radius.
  • As evaluated by ARI, successful "soldierization" is determined not by military or combat- oriented criteria, but by focus groups analyzing self-reported feelings. The post-training questionnaire contained 123 questions on such things as attitudes toward the Army; expectations of basic training; equal opportunity; sexual harassment; equal treatment; men and women in the Army; training experiences; and demographic characteristics. These are terms of primary interest to sociologists, not military commanders.
  • ARI focus groups re-defined unit cohesion in largely civilian, emotional terms; i.e., whether interviewees "like being in the platoon," "feel very close," " like and trust one another," or "make others want to do a good job."
  • ARI's subjective "touchy-feely" measurements have little in common with the classic definition of unit cohesion, which is essential for military readiness. As explained by numerous military experts and summarized by the Presidential Commission:

"Cohesion is the relationship that develops in a unit or group where (1) members share common values and experiences; (2) individuals in the group conform to group norms and behavior in order to ensure group survival and goals; (3) members lose their personal identity in favor of a group identity; (4) members focus on group activities and goals; (5) unit members become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and (6) group members must meet all standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival."

  • It is interesting to note that the word "survival" appears three times in the classic definition, but nowhere in the ARI study questions used to measure successful cohesion in the gender-integrated Army.

In summary, the ARI study defines success in sociological terms, using focus groups to measure subjective feelings instead of military capabilities.

3. Women's Morale as the Primary Consideration


Argument:
Gender-integrated training is necessary to improve women's morale.

Answer
: The morale of female soldiers is not the only consideration.

In assessing the 1993 gender-integrated program, ARI found that the female recruits' morale improved 14 percentage points, from 36% to 50%. At the same time, morale among male recruits dropped 17 points, from 67% to 50%.

4. The Difference Between Self-Esteem, Combat Efficiency, and Morale

Argument:
Improved self-esteem and morale among women will in turn enhance combat readiness.

Answer:
This argument is not unlike the outcome-based "self-esteem" philosophy that has permeated the public schools, with disastrous results, for more than two decades. The premise deserves closer examination in a military context, rather than sociology.

It is true that high morale enhances combat readiness, but there is considerable debate about which is more important, and which comes first. Adam Mersereau, a former Marine who is currently studying law at Georgia State University, published a prominent op-ed piece in the November 14, 1996, Wall Street Journal, titled "'Diversity' May Prove Deadly on the Battlefield." Mersereau has also written a 49-page follow-up thesis which is highly relevant to the debate about co-ed basic training and related issues.

In his thesis, Mersereau asserts that "authentic morale does not grow in its own soil, [with] combat efficiency as a mysterious by-product." Quoting the late military historian S.L.A. Marshall, Mersereau continues, "[Rather,]...high morale flows when the ranks are at all times conscious that they are serving in a highly-efficient institution."

Mersereau's point was demonstrated during an NBC Dateline segment aired on March 16, 1997, about the Marines' "Crucible" program at Parris Island. Male Marines were shown swiftly accomplishing a difficult task with what the narrator called "brute efficiency." Women were shown taking more time to do the same job by using "teamwork" and "strategy."

But male Marines are equally capable of teamwork and strategy. Such qualities are always important, but "brute efficiency," combined with the speed and agility more often found in male Marines, is frequently what's needed for survival and completion of a combat mission.

Retired Marine Col. John Ripley, whose achievements in Vietnam are memorialized in a display at the Naval Academy, became an authentic hero when he single-handedly attached explosives to the underside of a bridge at Dong Ha, and blew it up. Col. Ripley, had to depend on his own "brute" strength, incredible courage, and solitary efficiency to get the job done.

Mersereau zeroes in on the key question: How much combat "efficiency" should be sacrificed in order to advance "equal opportunity" goals?

"Combat efficiency yields morale, and therefore must precede it....Morale without combat efficiency would be of little value on the battlefield. Furthermore, morale without combat efficiency is most likely an inauthentic form of morale, brought on by false confidence....To try to build a military's morale without first, or at least concurrently, establishing a foundation of unshakable efficiency is a dangerous error."

Gender-integrated basic training programs in the Army, Navy, and Air Force may point to some success in terms of women's morale. There have been problems, however, that cannot be ignored. Basic training programs can only be improved by eliminating unnecessary distractions from the military mission. The goal should be to strengthen basic building blocks of personal discipline, strength and proficiency, in order to advance military goals, not sociological ones.

5. Single-Gender Training, Combat Exemptions, and Harassment

Argument
:
Women's combat exemptions and single-gender training have encouraged higher sexual harassment rates, especially in the Marine Corps.

Answer
: The charge is exaggerated, and the conclusion lacks supportive evidence.

  • A DoD survey released on July 2, 1996, indicates that the Marines do have the highest reported figure on sexual harassment (64%), but that is only 3 points ahead of the Army's (61%). The Marines also registered the second best improvement rate since 1988.
  • There is absolutely no evidence that assigning women in or near previously-closed combat positions reduces the problem of sexual harassment. Harassment figures from the Coast Guard, which has no rules exempting women from combat duty, still register at 59%.
  • In a recent survey conducted by Harvard researcher Laura Miller, a full 61% of the Army men and women surveyed said that repeal of women's combat exemptions would increase sexual harassment, not reduce it. The study is notable because even though Dr. Miller is sympathetic to feminist goals, her research results conflict with politically correct dogma.

6. Need for Female Volunteers

Argument
:
Due to the need for women to fill force requirements, we can't go to war without women. Co-ed training is essential for a gender-integrated military.

Answer:
Current high percentages of women in the armed forces are largely due to politically-motivated recruiting quotas. The Presidential Commission learned that if the recruitment quotas for women were phased out, there would be no negative effect on readiness.

The United States is a large and populous country. There is no need to send young mothers to fight our nation's wars. If eligible men are avoiding the military and women are being recruited in their place, even in light of drawdowns that have reduced recruiting demands, there must be serious problems with the volunteer force that require immediate attention.

7. We Must Train as We Fight

Argument:
To enhance the status of women, we must train as we fight--in gender-integrated units.

Answer
:
The military should train its soldiers to serve, fight, and win.

To be taken seriously, those who make this argument also should be calling for an immediate end to all gender-norming schemes and devices, such as step stools in front of high obstacle course barriers, lower goal marks for women on climbing poles, and all scoring systems that reward "equal effort" instead of equal performance, that are inconsistent with wartime requirements. Under new rules placing women in or near previously-closed combat units, it is even more important that military training programs reflect wartime requirements, not peacetime scenarios. There is no gender-norming on the battlefield.

8. The Problem is Sexual Harassment

Argument
:
The main problems are sexual harassment and abuse of women, for which "leadership" is the answer. There is no need to discuss other matters related to gender integration in the military.

Answer:
Everyone agrees that sexual abuse by senior officers taking advantage of trainees is wrong, and severe penalties are in order. But consensual relationships resulting from sexual attraction and human failings also undermine good order and discipline. Sound personnel policies, which are the essence of good leadership, should encourage professional, disciplined behavior, instead of creating conditions that encourage the opposite.

If the goal of gender-integration is to enhance respect and reduce violence against women, current assignment policies create a cultural contradiction. Sending women into combat condones and even encourages violence against women, at the hands of the enemy.

9. Quality in the All-Volunteer Force

Argument:
Women are better soldiers. Without great numbers of them, trained along with the men, the quality of the volunteer force will suffer.

Answer:
In view of proposed force reductions, the Congress must take a hard look at costs related to gender integration, especially those related to co-ed training, recruiting quotas, pregnancy, family support, medical and child care for single and dual-service couples, higher attrition rates among women, etc. The House National Security Committee's report titled "Military Readiness 1997: Rhetoric and Reality" chronicled the results of numerous field interviews conducted by members of HNSC in the past year. With regard to training, Rep. Spence reported that:

  • Recruits entering the military are less prepared, fit and motivated than in the past. Army studies indicate that the rate at which recruits are failing standard physical fitness tests has increased to 30 percent-triple the Army's overall failure rate; and
  • Due to inadequate basic and preliminary training, units are arriving less prepared for advanced training at the services' premier training centers.

The Committee deserves praise for chronicling many problems that need to be addressed. The next step is to ask for and publish gender breakdown figures, and to ask legitimate questions about the effect of gender integration on the problems mentioned above. Official inquires should also investigate costs associated with disciplinary problems, and costs incurred when soldiers are mal-assigned to occupations beyond their physical capabilities.

All of these questions are even more important as the force continues to draw down. A smaller force, combined with increased deployments, make physical strength, deployability, and training for combat efficiency even more important-not less so.

10. The Military Cannot "Turn Back the Clock"

Argument:
Co-ed basic training is inevitable and permanent. It would cost too much to end it.

Answer:
All military programs are highly debatable, and personnel policies found to be failing should be ended, not continued for political reasons. A comprehensive trial with co-ed basic training was ended in 1982--not to "punish" female soldiers, but to improve the quality of training for men and women alike. Co-ed training should be considered no more inevitable than the Seawolf submarine or the proposed F-22 fighter.

11. Congress Should Not "Micromanage" the Military

Argument
:
Congress should defer to the Pentagon on military personnel issues.

Answer:
Under Article 1, Section 8, it is the constitutional duty of Congress "To raise and support Armies...[and to] provide and maintain a Navy." Congress, therefore, has a duty to provide diligent oversight, and to formulate policies for the Department of Defense.

The Kassebaum Baker Committee's straightforward and unanimous recommendation that gender-integrated training and housing arrangements should be ended should be taken seriously and acted upon without delay. At the very least, these recommendations must be given greater weight than other reports on the same subject, as analyzed below:

B. The Senior Review Panel Report

Army Secretary Togo West's Senior Review Panel (SRP), formed to come up with recommendations in the aftermath of the Aberdeen sex abuse scandal, produced a two-volume report that was, to say the least, an inadequate response. For example:

1. The document obsesses about feelings and personal opinions, but barely recognizes the true purpose of military training. Nor does it inquire whether co-ed basic training is contributing to deficiencies elsewhere, such as a growing need for remedial training at advanced levels.

2. The Senior Review Panel did not produce an objective study, but it did serve to divert attention from Togo West's policies, and to buy time until the furor quieted down. The results were not surprising, because the majority of the seven members and eight consultants were either staunch proponents of the feminist agenda, close associates of Togo West, or officials whose duties should have alerted them to serious problems long before the Aberdeen scandal broke.

3. Given the SRP members' inherent conflicts of interest, it's not surprising that their report avoided direct criticism of their own actions or the policies of Secretary West and his assistant, Sara Lister. In addition to co-ed basic training, West and Lister are responsible for gender-integrated tents, double standards in training and disciplinary matters, unprecedented assignments for women in or near previously-closed combat units, counterproductive recruiting quotas, and pregnancy policies that encourage single parenthood and related deployability problems.

4. The SRP report barely mentioned the demoralizing effect of career-killing false accusations motivated by self-interest or revenge. These were encouraged by a runaway hot line system, since discontinued, which invited anonymous callers to create a witch-hunt atmosphere of revenge, suspicion and despair. Few people remember that two Aberdeen soldiers who were accused of sexual misconduct committed suicide in January and March of 1997.

5. The SRP did not address the intractable issue of consensual sex between peers, or inappropriate senior/subordinate relationships that develop in exchange for special favors. The panel missed an opportunity to perform a public service by acknowledging the obvious: Current basic and advanced training programs are being conducted in a sexually volatile atmosphere, conducive to misconduct by male and female soldiers alike.

6. The book-length report rambles on for 592 pages, not counting the "Human Relations Action Plan (Tier One and Tier Two), composed of an additional 120 pages of "equal opportunity" jargon recycled from bureaucratic briefings and diversity trainer wish lists. The entire body of work suggests, unrealistically, that abuse, misconduct, and consensual sex are "fixable" by social engineering and bureaucratic mandates. In particular, the SRP recommends an extra week of "sensitivity" training, to be conducted by diversity experts with a mandate to expand, re-engineer, and enhance the status of equal opportunity (EO) programs. According to the Army Times, this jobs program for diversity trainers will cost the budget-strapped Army the equivalent of about three battalions of soldiers in the field.

Reading the Fine Print

Despite its unrealistic conclusions, some of the focus group surveys done by SRP researchers reveal useful but disturbing findings. For example, Volume Two of the report, titled "Focus Group Protocols," revealed that male and female soldiers have vastly different opinions about interpersonal relationships, double standards, and the value of co-ed basic training.

  • Among male soldiers in training, for example, the most frequently mentioned recommendations for change were as follows: 1) Separate males and females during basic combat training (BCT); 2) BCT needs to be harder; and 3) Recruiters need to tell the truth. By contrast, the female trainees recommended that the Army: 1) Re-look the "battle buddy" policy (which requires female soldiers to walk in pairs); 2) Improve barracks living conditions; and 3) Improve sexual harassment training. (Question 15, p. G-28)
  • Volume Two also revealed that a majority of male and female interviewees agreed that the military exists to defend the country, but only 57% of the men and 33% of the women agreed that "The main focus of the Army should be war fighting."
  • Among men surveyed, 60% were either "not sure" or "disagreed" that "The soldiers in this company have enough skills that I would trust them with my life in combat." The combined figure for women was 74%.
  • In response to the following questions, "I am impressed with the quality of leadership in this company" and "The officers in this company would lead well in combat," 61% of the men said they were not sure or disagreed. The figures for women were 70% and 66%, respectively.
  • And in response to "If we went to war tomorrow, I would feel good about going with this company," 63% of the men said they weren't sure or disagreed, while 76% of the women said the same.

With results like these, midnight oil should be burning in the halls of the Pentagon. Instead, Secretary West announced his plan to deploy legions of sensitivity/diversity trainers armed with public relations strategies, pocket-sized values cards, role-playing scripts and easel-mounted briefing charts.

Which brings to mind an observation by philosopher George Santayana: "Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim."

C. The RAND Study: Sensitive Information Deleted

The 1997 RAND study on gender integration, titled "New Opportunities for Women: Effects Upon Readiness, Cohesion and Morale," was authorized by Congress in the 1997 Defense Authorization Act, and conducted by RAND under the direction of the Department of Defense.

Congress sought objective information, but the Center for Military Readiness discovered last year that the draft version of the RAND report, originally titled "Recent Gender Integration in the Military: Effects Upon Readiness, Cohesion and Morale," was revised and "cleansed" of political incorrectness prior to release on October 21, 1997. Starting with the first part of the title, which was changed to "New Opportunities for Military Women," unidentified spinmeisters censored or revised sensitive passages, while playing up those in support of gender integration. Truth, it seems, is the first casualty of social engineering.

CMR's comparison of the draft and final versions, included with this testimony as Attachment A, indicates how difficult it is to get accurate information from the Department of Defense. A number of candid statements made by interviewees in the field--servicemen and women who trusted that their views would be faithfully reported--were paraphrased, revised, or omitted all together. Quotable "sound bites" were added to skew media perceptions of the report, and to euphemize certain controversial findings regarding pregnancy, interpersonal relationships, mandatory political correctness, and readiness.

The Pentagon Feminist Spin

The study was released with the usual feminist spin, proclaimed by RAND's news release headline: "Military Readiness: Women are Not a Problem." In an article published the same day, Dana Priest of the Washington Post focused on the news that 47,544 previously closed occupational specialties were recently opened but filled by only 815 women. She also claimed, incorrectly, that Congress had "ordered" the positions to be opened up, and implied that the "negligible" and "minuscule" results were evidence of gross discrimination against women.

Priest's account failed to notice that the majority of women might be avoiding unpleasant, previously all-male near-combat jobs, or are simply unqualified for them. Self-appointed women's advocates suggest that gender quotas should be used to force women where they shouldn't or don't want to go.

Congress has never enacted such a mandate, because of predictable consequences. Physical standards would have to be gender-normed or dropped all together. Legions of sensitivity trainers would have to be trained and deployed, at great expense, to cope with escalating disciplinary problems. Pregnancy and childcare costs would soar, and morale would flag. Potential recruits would shun the volunteer force, and experienced soldiers would continue to resign in great numbers. In an actual war, combat effectiveness would be vitiated, lives needlessly lost, and national security threatened.

All of these problems were evident in the RAND report, but superficial accounts obscured disturbing news buried in the document. For example:

  • In units that are undermanned or heavily populated with women, pregnancy has a negative effect on "availability" for deployment.
  • Women are more prone to injuries; medical lost time (including maternity leave) detracts from unit strength and readiness.
  • Gender-norming reduces female injuries, but heightens resentment of double standards and degrades morale.
  • Some women demand co-ed housing, while others complain of male supervisors with access to their sleeping quarters.
  • Disciplinary rules don't seem to apply to women, and men are terrorized by false accusations of sexual misconduct.

Male/female tension is everywhere, but administration officials proclaim-disingenuously-that gender is not a factor.

Gullible reporters enthused about surveys supposedly showing strong support for women in voluntary combat, without recognizing that such an option would be just as unworkable for women as it is for men. Only 10% of female privates and corporals agreed that women should be treated "exactly like men" in the combat arms.

The report's bibliography, which included books and articles with loaded titles such as "Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood," "Sexism and the War System," and "Woman, Race, and Class," explains why the RAND report reads like a tax-funded feminist polemic. Far-left authors and liberal sociologists, such as Angela Davis, Susan Faludi, Catharine MacKinnon, Madeline Morris, Judith Steim, Mady Segal, and Patricia Schroeder are heavily represented. Authors and experts with differing views or actual military experience are conspicuously scarce.

Cohesion Redefined

The chapter on "cohesion" is particularly problematic, because it declares "success" under a civilianized definition. The new, politically-correct definition of cohesion differs sharply from the testimony of expert witnesses appearing before the Presidential Commission, who described the importance of building cohesion for reasons of combat effectiveness:

"...Unit members [must] become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and group members must meet all standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival."

RAND researchers, on the other hand, defined cohesion not in terms of combat survival, but in civilian "workplace" terms relating to "social" relationships (getting along) and accomplishment of "tasks" (getting the job done.)

Gender is disavowed as a problem factor, except in certain areas. Men in gender-integrated units tend to be more careful about personal cleanliness when working around women, and are more likely to confide their problems to female colleagues, which decreases their desire to fight or drink excessively. That's about it on the positive side.

RAND recommends tests to qualify individuals for "heavy-labor" jobs, but only if they don't become "barriers" to women's careers. The big "if" signals a replay of efforts in the early 1980s to devise effective tests that would match individuals to strenuous jobs.

According to Lt. Col. Harry W. Crumling, USA (Ret.), who participated in the project, diligent work by Army flag officers and exercise specialists to devise such a system was soundly rejected by "the women's lobby within the Pentagon." This is why the RAND recommendation sounds politically correct, but is really illogical. Feminists keep saying they want equal treatment, but if women don't succeed in equal numbers, they demand special treatment.

D. DACOWITS and Feminists Attack the Marine Corps

The Kassebaum Baker Report drove the usual feminist factions, especially the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), into a state of panic. Instead of responding to the reports' specific findings, feminists engaged in sloganeering, warning the Pentagon that it must not "turn back the clock."

The DACOWITS tried to divert attention from the Kassebaum Baker Report by issuing its own critique on January 20, 1998. Among other things, the introduction claimed that "Trainers in particular said that more negative and prejudicial attitudes towards women were fostered in male-only training schools and units..." In typical DACOWITS' head-in-the-sand fashion, committee members hadn't even visited the Marines' training base at Parris Island.

A lack of understanding about Marine methods and culture hasn't stopped many critics from vilifying the Corps. Sara Lister's characterization of the Marines as "extremists" surprised many people, but among feminists, her attitude was not unusual. Several female members of Congress, for example, defended co-ed training by charging that the Corps' single sex training regimen causes higher rates of sexual harassment.

The canard is unfair. A 1996 Defense Department study found that some form of sexual harassment was reported by 64% of Marine women, only 3 points higher than the Army's 61%, and the Corps' rate of improvement is the second best since 1988.

More importantly, the primary purpose of basic training is not to reduce sexual harassment, but to transform civilian men and women into soldiers. The Kassebaum Baker panel found that the Marines' single sex approach produces "impressive levels of confidence, team building and esprit de corps in all female training platoons at the Parris Island base."

The Marine Model

The Marines Corps has demonstrated that a well-designed single-gender basic training program, with same-sex drill instructors, can be tailored to challenge male and female trainees to the limit, without subjecting women to demoralizing injuries that cause them to drop out. With some reservations, CMR supports the Marine Corps' single-gender approach to training. Women Marines receive tough, challenging training, but they live and train separately from the men.

Members of the Presidential Commission, who visited Marine Corps training facilities at Parris Island, Quantico, and Tweny-Nine Palms, found that the women Marines were fully supportive of separate training and living accommodations. In their view, gender-integrated arrangements were out of the question. When Presidential Commissioners visited Twenty-nine Palms in 1992, two women Marines posed proudly outside of their gender-segregated tent, holding a sign reading "Off Limits to Males." To guard against the occasional man who might wander in after dark, the women's tents were surrounded by coils of concertina wire.

In 1992, Maj. Gen. Gene Deegan, then-Commanding General of Parris Island, told the Presidential Commission that it would be "ludicrous" to institute co-ed basic training for enlisted women Marines. The Presidential Commission recommended that entry level training may be gender-specific as necessary, largely in response to Gen. Deegan's testimony on June 25: "If I were to maintain the same intensity for [women in training as] the male recruits, I would have a very difficult time recruiting any females, and if my recruiting mission remained the same, I would fail in my recruiting mission." Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak continues to support the separation of men and women in basic training, and promises that the Corps will not yield to pressure for change.

This does not mean that the Marines' training regimen is perfect in every way. CMR continues to be concerned that certain elements of the training, such as pugil stick exercises opposite other women, contribute to the illusion that women are now ready for actual combat against male soldiers. Some senior woman Marines with experience in combat zones expressed a word of caution to the Presidential Commission about "confidence" courses that create a false sense of security about women's ability to cope with true combat violence.

Still, CMR applauds the Marines for sticking to their principles on single-gender training, and recommends that the other services benefit from their experience.

E. The Pentagon Establishment

Given political realities, including Congress' apparent reluctance to hear or support any other view, no one should be surprised that uniformed officials provided predictable testimony endorsing policies they have formulated, implemented, or endorsed in previous congressional testimony. Nevertheless, the credibility of such testimony should be called into question. As defense analyst and Army combat veteran John Hillen wrote:

"Just months ago the service chiefs staunchly defended current training practices before Congress, despite the fact that all the problems identified ad infinitim by the Kassebaum Baker panel were festering in the training centers and the force at large. Senior military leaders have for years been tacitly enforcing an Orwellian regime of euphemisms, double-speak, and a thousand daily winks at the absurdities of politically correct military training. The confidence course instead of the obstacle course. Oh, please....The Kassebaum Baker report, while in effect calling for only a modest segregation of the sexes in basic training, is important in that it refutes this culture of political correctness in favor of military correctness. It is a small step on the path to political
courage."

There is also reason to believe that some Pentagon officials are willing, or are being required, to withhold information or deliberately mislead the public on certain controversial issues. According to Navy Times , Louis Finch, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Readiness, wrote a memo on August 7, 1997, admonishing staff members not to reveal or comment on negative field trip reports. The gag order was issued shortly after Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough obtained and quoted an internal field report about serious maintenance and equipment problems at an Air Force base.

In addition, former Army Assistant Secretary Sara Lister, Togo West's liaison to the Senior Review Panel, told U.S. News and World Report reporter Richard Newman that the service is reluctant to publicly discuss strength and pregnancy issues, because in the past, those subjects quickly became fodder for conservatives seeking to limit women's role in the Army.

Pentagon officials have an interest in proclaiming that nothing is amiss, but Congress has a responsibility to find out why the Kassebaum Baker panel voted as they did. In providing oversight on defense issues, personnel matters are even more important than "hardware" issues.

CONCLUSION

The issue in question is high quality and efficiency in basic training programs, upon which combat readiness and national security depend. In judging the "success" of basic training, no other consideration should take precedence.

There are no simple answers to problems of sexual misconduct, but the first step is to set sound priorities. Even the Washington Post is catching on to this fundamental principle. In a May 1, 1997, editorial titled "Women in the Military," the Post expressed concern about sexual misconduct at Aberdeen. "In sorting out these issues, national security, not equal opportunity should come first."

The Center for Military Readiness recommends a comprehensive approach that begins, but does not end, with restoration of single-gender basic training. Congress should also put an end to recruiting quotas, so that numbers and assignments of women can assume a more realistic course.

Co-ed housing arrangements and generous pregnancy policies that encourage indiscipline and single parenthood are sorely in need of congressional review. In addition, double standards in training and disciplinary matters that heighten resentment and tension between the sexes merit corrective action. The Presidential Commission Report provides extensive information and guidance, and I am ready to assist the House National Security Committee in any way I can.

Even successful institutions must sometimes change direction. In the early days of the Apollo space program, NASA lost three astronauts--their names were Grissom, White, and Chaffee--in a devastating fire. The men perished when the pure oxygen atmosphere within their space capsule was ignited by an unexpected spark. Instead of risking more lives by aiming for zero sparks, the mechanical engineers redesigned the spacecraft.

The military, on the other hand, is playing dangerous games with human beings in a highly volatile atmosphere, as if people can be counted on to be more perfect than machines. What will it take for the social engineers to learn their lesson?

Instead of embracing the notion that human sexuality doesn't matter--which is social fiction comparable to science fiction--single-gender training programs must recognize reality, enhance the military mission, and encourage good order and discipline.

Military readiness and national security depend not just on ships, planes, tanks, and high technology, but on people who volunteer to serve their country in uniform. Their jobs must not be made more difficult or more dangerous due to misdirected priorities and sociological agendas. They are looking to you for leadership, and Congress cannot afford to let them down.

ATTACHMENT A

RAND REPORT REVISIONS: SENSITIVE PASSAGES DELETED

The Center for Military Readiness has discovered that the draft version of the Defense Department's RAND report, titled "Recent Gender Integration in the Military: Effects Upon Readiness, Cohesion and Morale," was revised and "cleansed" of political incorrectness prior to release of the final report on October 21, 1997. A comparison of the draft and final versions reveals that a number of candid statements made by interviewees in the field--servicemen and women who trusted that their views would be faithfully reported--were paraphrased, revised, or omitted all together.

Quotable "sound bites" were added to skew media perceptions of the report, and to euphemize controversial findings regarding pregnancy, interpersonal relationships, mandatory political correctness, and readiness. To emphasize the careerist spin desired by the Pentagon, even the first part of the title was changed to "New Opportunities for Military Women." The following are changes noted in the final RAND report, compared to the draft version:

1) The RAND report draft included a frank discussion of problems caused by heavy concentrations of single mothers in some units:

"Single, pregnant, junior enlisted personnel were considered the most problematic of all pregnancies, for several reasons. First this was perceived as a moral issue, and thus distasteful to those who thought military personnel should adhere to higher moral values. Of more relevance to the readiness of the unit, however, was that pregnant single women were perceived to be a long-term burden. Not only were their activities potentially restricted during pregnancy, and their absence during their convalescent leave a loss to the unit, but their problems being a single parent were felt to have the most effect upon the unit....Many junior enlisted personnel cannot afford to live off base and own a car, so in some places they must take the bus to work and are frequently late." (p. 40, draft)

The revised version, which also appears on page 40, is somewhat shorter and more vague, with references to "moral issue" and "long term burden" excised or paraphrased. The section did admit that such problems "consume the time of supervisory personnel...but few of those problems were "unresolvable."

2) The final RAND report section headlined "Other Findings Related to Gender" (pp. 94-96) is dramatically different from the draft section titled "The Findings Within a Context of Transition," which included the following comments that are missing from the final version:

"Pregnancy is an unplanned loss exclusive to women, which unit commanders reported may dramatically increase unplanned losses, which hurt understaffed units the most. Pregnancy is most problematic because those workers either cannot be replaced or replacements are often delayed: both leave positions either partially filled (due to limited work responsibilities during pregnancy), unfilled, or compensated for by other workers taking on extra duties for half a year to a year....When women, especially single women, intentionally become pregnant to escape either unpleasant duties, a certain command, or a deployment, both men and women resent the additional burden they must shoulder as a consequence of their absence." (p. 101, draft)

"...Additionally, men perceive that young women who regret their decision to join the military can use pregnancy as a 'Get out of jail free card.' whereas young men have no such escape clause." (p. 102, draft)

3) Both versions report that only 43 percent of military personnel surveyed agreed with the statement, "'I believe that my coworkers and I would respond well to a crisis.' Service, unit, grade, race, and gender were not significant in this item." But the next sentence, was dropped: "That number is unsettling given that the military's job is to be prepared for what is essentially a sustained crisis." (p. 62, draft)

The missing sentence was a significant editorial comment by RAND researchers. By contrast, comments that praised gender integration were included and emphasized in the final version and accompanying news releases.

4) The original section on "Sickness or Injury" does not equivocate on reports that women are sick or injured more often. "As the Marines told us, 'Women were broke more often,' or experience a disproportionate number of injuries." (p. 41, draft)

But the final version added this on p. 40: "There are no automated records of the frequency of and reasons for absence, however, so we could not confirm these reports;" and this on p. 41: "Most units did not report that gender integration has had a significant negative effect upon the number of personnel available to a unit...[when] units were fully staffed and the proportion of women was representative...."

The problem is that many units in the downsized military are indeed under-staffed, and the "availability" problem is aggravated by gender-quotas that result in the "Amazon units" mentioned on p. 40 of the draft.

5) The following observations were also deleted from the final report:

* "Some unit commanders appear to feel pressured to report success in the training, retaining, and promotion of women. Men who perceive this believe women are given more opportunities than men to work up to the standard." (p. 102, draft)

* "Women agreed that false harassment complaints are a problem, and added that they undermine the ability of women who are truly harassed to have their complaint taken seriously..." (p. 104, draft)

6) Page 85 of the draft includes a straightforward statement: "Another gender issue that was perceived to have an effect upon morale was the existence of dating or sexual relationships within the unit...." But the final report expresses the same idea with some equivocation: "In this study, we had no way of determining how common dating or sexual relationships were in these units. When these relationships had occurred, they were perceived to affect morale..." (p. 79, final)

* * * * * * *

ATTACHMENT B

ELAINE DONNELLY March, 1998

Elaine Donnelly is President of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent 501(c)(3) educational organization that concentrates on military personnel issues. CMR, which is supported by prominent civilians, active duty, and retired military people in all 50 states, advocates high, single standards in training and disciplinary matters, assignment policies that are consistent with military realities and American cultural values, and sound defense spending priorities that do not sacrifice readiness and morale for the sake of social engineering.

In 1984, then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger appointed her to be a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) for a three year term. In 1992 she was appointed by President George Bush to serve as a member of the Presidential Commission on Women in the Armed Forces, which was charged to study the question of whether women should be assigned to direct combat positions in all branches of the military.

As a commissioner, Mrs. Donnelly participated in fact-finding visits to twelve military bases all over the country, including the Army's Fort Bragg, three Marine training bases, the Naval Academy, several ships, submarines, and a SEAL training facility. She has also experienced two "trap" landings on the carriers John F. Kennedy and Kitty Hawk, Air Force survival training at a prisoner of war camp, and a supersonic flight in the F-15 Eagle.

Mrs. Donnelly coordinated the writing of the "Alternative Views" section of the Commission's report. She has done extensive research on military personnel issues, and her articles have been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, Washington Times, National Review, the Naval Institute's Proceedings, Detroit News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Policy Review, VFW magazine, Strategic Review, and several newspapers nationwide. She is also the author of a monograph titled Politics and the Pentagon -- The Role of Women in the Military.

Mrs. Donnelly has appeared on many network programs, such as CNN's Crossfire and Prime News, NBC's Today and Dateline, ABC's Nightline and Good Morning America, and PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer Report and a 2-hour National Review "Firing Line" debate.

In 1997 Elaine Donnelly was the first woman to receive the Adm. John Henry Towers award from the New York Naval Aviation Commandery, in recognition of her support for naval aviation. (Previous honorees include Admirals William F. Halsey, James L. Holloway, and Stanley Arthur, Sen. John McCain, former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, and President George Bush.) Since 1990, she has participated in a number of public forums nationwide, including programs sponsored by the Naval Institute, the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University, the Indianapolis Economic Club, the First Marine Division 1997 convention, and Independent Women's Forum.

Elaine Donnelly served as the first woman chairman of the State Republican Issues Committee (1987-1989), and in 1984 was Press Secretary for the Michigan Reagan/Bush campaign. In 1985 she traveled to the Reagan/Gorbachev Summit Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland with a private delegation supporting strategic missile defense.

She attended the University of Detroit and Schoolcraft College, and was a regular commentator on Detroit WJR-AM radio's "Point of View" series from 1976-1991. She lives in Livonia Michigan with her husband, Terry, and is the mother of two grown daughters.