Expert Elaine Donnelly Sounds the Alarm
Move to Draft Women for Combat
May Be Next on Military/Social Agenda
Young ladies, prepare to be drafted for combat duty! That was one of the warnings issued by Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, in February 19 remarks to the Eastside Republican Club Forum.
Lauding the thousands of women who have and will continue to serve, Elaine Donnelly (pictured far right with ERC chairman Jenny Nolan) nevertheless laid out a strong case for restricting them from any combat role.
Donnelly leads the Center for Military Readiness, an independent, nonpartisan public policy organization specializing in military/social issues. Founded in 1993, CMR advocates high, single standards in all forms of military training, and sound priorities in making military/social policies.
She noted that thus far, the Supreme Court has rejected efforts by the ACLU to force women to register for the draft. She explained that the Court came to that conclusion because conscription was used only during wartime to build combat forces from which women were exempt. >>Saved by 'Supremes.'
That was 1981. Now that women are slated for combat duty, the argument can no longer be made.
She argued that reserving women for other roles is in the best interest of the core mission, citing the need for what is called both vertical and horizontal unit "cohesion," which is eroded when the sexes are mixed in a combat environment.
Women Saved by 'Supremes' in 1981
A district court ruled in favor of Goldberg, finding that the Selective Service Act unconstitutionally discriminated between men and women, but the federal government appealed and the Supreme Court reversed the lower court in 1981
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice William Rehnquist said that Congress "acted well within its constitutional authority to raise and regulate armies and navies when it authorized the registration of men and not women."
The 1981 argument supporting that successful appeal must now be abandoned. >>More
In combat, she said, cohesion is more than mere teamwork. It is men bonding with each other to accomplish their mission (horizontal), and being willing to fight to the death to execute orders from their squad, platoon, company, or other leader (vertical).
"Combat effectiveness is now secondary," Donnelly said, because by his January 24, 2013, announcement Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unilaterally lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles.
She explained that added to victory is now a new priority, "gender diversity metrics." Plans call for "significant cadres" of women in direct ground combat battalions by 2016."
Donnelly outlined findings of a Marines Corps study indicating, on average, women have 20% lower aerobic capacity, 47% lower lifting strength, and 26% slower road marching speed. In addition, female injury rates during basic training are double those of men.
She said, "Studies done over 30 years have shown that in a direct ground combat environment where lives and missions depend on physical strength, women do not have the equal opportunity to survive."
Equality in the 'Workplace'
While billed as giving women equal opportunity for promotion, "It is clear that individual rights are now overshadowed by demographic objectives," she said.
This was underscored, she explained, by Adm. Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has testified that diversity is a “strategic imperative for the security of our country.”
While a record of serving in combat bodes well when a soldier is being considered for promotion, Donnelly noted, "An Army survey that showed less than 10% of female military personnel actually want to serve in combat."
Yet, a woman's choice to serve or not to serve in combat has now evaporated. Donnelly explained the reality that "in the military, soldiers are given no choice of future assignments."
As anyone who has ever served knows, even in today's all-volunteer military, a soldier doesn't get to select his duty assignment. That's why assignments are called, "orders."
"A Selective Service system," she said, "forced to disregard these realities would 'equalize' tough training standards by driving them down, weakening the culture of the only military we have."
Yet, even with the former restriction of women in combat roles, military duty has been risky for women. In recent years there have been 152 women killed in Middle East fighting. But at some future date should the draft is re-instituted, dying on the battlefield will become an equal opportunity event -- male/female.
Donnelly noted another situation that training and reeducation has not overcome. In recent years as women have been moved away from administrative and employed in roles closer to front lines, "There has been a 22% increase in sexual assaults," she said.
In fact, she related that keeping a seaman focused on his mission when there is a lady spending virtually 24 hours a day in the same living quarters has been such a distraction to sailors that each month since 2010, an average of two Navy commanders have been relieved due to inappropriate events which transpired on their vessels!
Not so Far-fetched
Although Pres. Gerald Ford ended draft registration in 1975, Pres. Jimmy Carter advocated a return to registration as a show of "resolve." At the same time, forty years ago, Carter wanted young women to register along with the men.
Carter is not alone. Michigan's Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has long supported draft registration for women.
Levin is joined by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who continues to push for re-launching the draft, objecting to the fact that a small fraction of U.S. citizens (volunteer men) are bearing more than their fair share of fighting our country's wars.
Rangel believes women should share the combat burden, and repeatedly introduces legislation to require women to register.
Traitor or Act of "Workplace Violence"?
Donnelly pointed to another example of the military's "social agenda." It was on display after the horror at Fort Hood, Texas, where Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 and one unborn in the infamous November 2009 massacre.
What could be worse than this massacre? Gen. George Casey, Jr., Army Chief of Staff, said there is a risk of a worse casualty.
"Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse,” he said. >>No kidding!
Finally, instead of Hasan's murders being treated as an act of terrorism, law enforcement agencies have classified the deaths as "workplace violence." Compounding the insult, the designation prevents those who were wounded from getting all the medical care to which they would be entitled if classified a terrorist attack or combat related. >>Fort Hood Hero Says President Obama 'Betrayed' Her, Other Victims.
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger appointed Donnelly a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) on which she served from 1984 to 1986. In 1992, Pres. George H. W. Bush appointed Donnelly to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces.
Donnelly has published articles on military personnel issues in such publications as the Washington Post, USA Today, the Boston Globe, Congressional Quarterly Researcher, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Times, the Naval Institute's Proceedings, and Human Events, and has appeared on most network and cable network discussion programs. She is a contributor to the Breitbart web site Big Peace and CNSNews.com.
She has participated in educational programs sponsored by the Naval Institute, Hillsdale College, the Foreign Policy Institute, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, Independent Women's Forum, and a number of events sponsored by veterans' groups and military academy alumni organizations.
In 1997, in recognition of her support for naval aviation, Donnelly was the first woman to receive the Adm. John Henry Towers award from the New York Naval Aviation Commandery.
As a volunteer, she chaired the Michigan Republican Party's Issues Committee, and in 2002 was recipient of the American Conservative Union's Ronald Reagan Award. Donnelly attended Schoolcraft College and the University of Detroit, is the mother of two grown daughters, and resides in Michigan.
The Eastside Republican Club Forum is normally held on the third Tuesday of the month from September through June. Admission is free and the public is always welcome.