The recommendation of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission to lift the exclusion of women from ground combat is deeply irresponsible and cannot be taken seriously. The CommissionÕs lodestar was diversity, not military effectiveness, and it failed to take into consideration a wealth of information bearing on its recommendation. The CommissionÕs recommendation was based primarily on sources that cannot be considered authoritative, and the CommissionÕs analysis of the sources that it did consult was superficial and in conflict with some of the facts, as opposed to the Òspin,Ó contained in these very sources. The Commission substantially downplayed the sex difference in strength and other physical capacities, striking down the straw man that Òall women lack the physical ability to perform in combat roles,Ó but never addressing how many women there are who actually possess that ability, a piece of data that is highly relevant to its recommendation. Moreover, the MLDC report does not mention the word Òpregnancy,Ó despite the fact that there is much data to suggest that pregnancy has substantial adverse effects on deployability and readiness even with the ground-combat exclusion in place. Finally, the CommissionÕs conclusion that there was Òlittle evidenceÓ that integration of women has had a negative impact on cohesion and performance ignores not only a wealth of information to the contrary in sources it did not consult, it also ignores a great deal of evidence to the contrary in the sources that the Commission actually did consult.
Law and Gender | Military, War, and Peace
Kingsley R. Browne, The Report of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission: An Inadequate Basis for Lifting the Exclusion of Women from Direct Ground Combat, SSRN, Sept. 25, 2012, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2151965