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Women in Combat

Touchy subject, I know.

Some of the bar to women in combat is philosophical, to be sure. Most of it is logistical though. Women are more expensive to support and far more importantly are a minority in the military and thus the facilities to support them have fewer personnel to support. This makes the justification for separate living and hygiene facilities with combat units harder to justify. The last point is only my suspicion, but a big issue to consider, so I’ll put it out there anyway.

I’ll use the Army as an example. Currently the Army is about 13% female. I would guess, as in the private sector, that most women would choose less physically demanding jobs outside combat arms, making them an even smaller, harder to support minority within the job class.

As a side bar, you see different demographics gravitating to different jobs . As a former infantryman, when I was in basic training, there were 7 black guys out of 230ish people in my training company. Why? No idea, but looking at the other basic training units that were not infantry (there were a bunch there going into communications, so the more technical jobs), blacks made up a majority in some cases, far more than their representation in the general population. My infantry company was mostly whites, followed closely by Latinos. To get to the point, there is no reason to think there wouldn’t be the same kind of disparity, given what we already know about woman’s job choices.

While there is no difference in support black, white, asian or latino men, there is a big difference when one now has to provide separate facilities for females.

Add to this the fact that women don’t have to match the physical requirements that men do, its a hard sell to convince me that its effective to accommodate the small minority of women likely to be able to physically handle the jobs and actually desire to do so.

The Navy is now allowing women on submarines. Good idea? Probably. But that’s only because they have found a way to support them efficiently and effectively. In the future I suspect that women will be allowed in combat focused jobs, but not until the overwhelming minority who would be interested can be supported easily and only if they can meet the physical standards required. However, the all male combat force is well staffed and effective and making a costly, inefficient and unneeded change to suit the few who would choose it is counter productive to the goal of the military: to accomplish their missions.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2011/05/30 at 16:27

    Nice post Nate, the different patterns different groups take when they choose military roles.

    I don’t think many of your readers go around looking to get offended, but if anyone tries to make what you said into something else, you said blacks tend to choose technical work and not grunt work. That’s against the stereotype. Supposing that is true, it could be blacks have a better chance getting technical training through the military, and whites who want technical training tend to enroll in schools for it instead of enlisting.

    I don’t know, of course, that’s one possible explanation.

  2. 2011/05/30 at 17:01

    I would guess that you have it right. All jobs in the military are becoming increasingly technical but what really matters is blacks are choosing jobs where they can transfer skills to the civilian world. That goes along with what you said about the venue choice in gaining these skills, school or the military.

    I’d also point out that blacks, anyone really, are probably better off getting some of these skills through the military, the training is more hands on, better, free of cost to the individual and of course military service is a big leg up with most employers.

    Another thing, this all would suggest that blacks do better on the entrance test than whites. Granted, I was in the top 8% and I choose infantry, but you can be in the bottom 30% and go infantry, and that’s really one of the only choices down there. Many jobs require you to be in the top 50% or higher.

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