A military watchdog that has warned for years about women in front-line combat is pleased that a U.S. Marine Corps general is warning about those same consequences.
During a Pentagon press briefing last week, Marine General John Kelly (pictured below) told reporters that future generals will face "great pressure" to lower rigorous standards in order to allow more women into front-line units such as infantry and artillery.
January 1 was the date for U.S. military branches to begin allowing women into front-line units, including even elite special operations units.
The question is coming, says Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, over whether women have been put into these units and if not, why not.
"The question will lead to an examination of standards," she predicts.
While other military branches buckled to the new rules, the Marine Corps sought an exemption after a nine-month study showed female Marines failed to run and shoot better than male Marines in physically-demanding, combat-simulated tests.
Last fall, Donnelly told OneNewsNow about out those test results, first reported by The Los Angeles Times, as the January 1 deadline loomed.
But the Marine Corps' exemption request was turned down by Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, who dismissed the test and even blamed the female Marines who failed it.
Kelly, who oversees U.S. Southern Command , told reporters that the U.S. military should ask the question, "Does it make us more lethal?" when making decisions about equipment to use and personnel to recruit.
"There will be great pressure, whether it’s 12 months from now, four years from now," the general predicated, "because the question will be asked whether we’ve let women into these other roles, why aren’t they staying in those other roles?”
And there's a reason to suspect those demands are coming in the future.
Donnelly points to the "Dempsey Rule," named after the former Joint Chiefs chairman, who suggested that if standards are too high for women to attain them, then the military branch must defend why the standard is so rigorous.
"And the only way to achieve that goal," says Donnelly, "is to adjust the standards so that women can succeed. This would be devastating to the culture of excellence, not only not just in the Marine Corps but in all the combat arms forces."
The primary goal of the Obama-led Pentagon, she warns, is equal opportunity and social engineering, with combat effectiveness becoming secondary.