Diary

Navy Secretary threw Marines under the bus

That’s according to one of the women involved in his social experiment of mixed-gender infantry units. This Washington Post article is interesting both in what it does say and what it doesn’t say.

“Our secretary of the Navy completely rolled the Marine Corps and the entire staff that was involved in putting this [experiment] in place under the bus,” said Sgt. Danielle Beck, a female anti-armor gunner with the task force.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told NPR that he questioned the results of a nine-month study that said the experiment failed. That interview consists of him making one excuse after another why the experiment failing doesn’t mean it failed. Pathetic.

“It started out with a fairly large component of the men thinking ‘This is not a good idea’ and ‘Women will never be able to do this,’” Mabus said in the Friday interview with NPR. “When you start out with that mind-set, you’re almost presupposing the outcome.”

One anonymous active-duty officer who was involved said that it was planned out in such a way as to be unbiased in addition to offering a fair test.

The task force was stood up in October 2014 and consisted of roughly 300 men and 100 women broken down into a number of smaller units. Each job that is currently closed to women, known as combat arms, was represented. Artillery, tanks, amphibious and armored vehicles all had a component. The task force then conducted training exercises like any other. Its mission was to hold a number of trials that would evaluate the performance of a female-integrated ground task force.

It turns out they used a very large carrot to get men to participate.

According to Marines involved in the experiment, numbers fluctuated frequently as those who volunteered to participate could drop at any time. A large number of men in the company dropped because they were promised an assignment to any unit in the Marine Corps for participating in the experiment. This caused the company to shrink considerably from its initial strength of around 90 volunteers in October.

More from Sgt Beck, who stayed through to the end of the program. She sounds like someone a guy wouldn’t mind being in the trenches with.

To Beck, a 30 year-old who was one of the strongest women in the company, Mabus’s remarks were insulting.

“Everyone that was involved did the job and completed the mission to the best of their abilities,” said Beck, adding that Mabus’s remarks about the type of women in the experiment were a “slap in the face.”

The Post added this information, which sounds impressive – except that it’s meaningless since the women used a different set of standards than the men did.

Of the men and women who were in Weapons Company and participated in the majority of the experiment’s trials, the women performed better than the men on the Marine Corps-wide physical-fitness test. The average score for the men in Weapons Company was 244 out of 300 while the women’s average was 283, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. For an average all-male infantry unit, physical-fitness scores are usually in the 260s.

The net of all this is:

  • The Navy set up a fair experiment, which failed.
  • The Navy Secretary blamed the marines for “presupposing” a failed outcome.
  • Instead he “presupposed” a successful outcome and inconvenient facts won’t change his mind.
  • One of the few women who made it to the end (17 of the original 100) states that Mabus denigrated women and threw marines under the bus.