Will American Daughters be Forced into Battle?

by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR. May 13, 2016

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Welcome to Secure Freedom Radio. This is Frank Gaffney, your host and guide for what I think of as an intelligence briefing on the war for the free world. A woman of uncommon intelligence and really a hero in that war for the free world as far as I'm concerned is our guest for this full hour. She is Elaine Donnelly. She is the founder and president of a terrific organisation, the Center for Military Readiness and has been hard at the business of trying to assure the readiness of our military for a couple of decades now. She has served in a number of key positions, including as a member of the defence advisory committee on women in the services back during the Reagan Administration and also as an appointee on the presidential commission on the assignment of women in the armed forces. She has been recognised for her service to our men and women in uniform by many, but I always take great delight in doing so as part of our programming. And Elaine, thank you very much for joining us and for giving so generously of your time to talk about what's going on at the moment.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

Thank you, Frank, for that warm introduction. I always appreciate your support and help. You care about the military better and more than most and we need, as civilians, we need to support our men and women in uniform. They're under a lot of stress right now and it's up to us to help them out and to support them and we've got a lot of work to do.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

We do indeed. We're going to talk about why and how that support is so and needed. Elaine, I do think as we kick this thing off, though, it's worth paying both tribute, in a way, and certainly remembering an admonition by one of our mutual friends, particularly yours, a former commandant of the Marine Corps, Carl Mundy, who described our men and women in uniform as the most important special interest in the country, arguably, that has no voice. Because they're not allowed really to engage in public policy debates. So it falls to people like you at the Center for Military Readiness and others of us who have their back to do so and nobody does it better than you. Let's talk, to start this off, Elaine, by helping those of us in the civilian world who don't know much about the military, perhaps, admire it, I'm sure, but nonetheless, don't really have much of an appreciation of the nature of the system of protecting our country, what's involved, the sacrifice I suspect most of us have at least a visceral feeling for, but talk if you would about the culture of the military and how important it is to both the morale and defining truth of the force.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

Well, as a civilian, I was deeply honoured to see up close what the military is all about when I was appointed to a Pentagon advisory committee on women in the services. I visited as many military bases as I could, saw men and women in action. I was so totally impressed and still am. But I also noticed that whenever controversies came up, the people in uniform are not free to express their views. Quite often, they would come to me privately and say, well, that question you asked was exactly right and here's why you were correct. But they wouldn't say it publicly, because the media was there, they didn't want to have their careers affected. And I never blamed them for that because they shouldn't have to make a choice that way. But it's always been my mission to try to get across what people are trying to say but they're not being heard. I don't claim to speak for military people. But I do say that they're not being heard. I also noticed that the culture of the military is so unique and so special. It is unlike anything in the civilian world. We have values at work here such as honour, courage, commitment, integrity, selflessness, willingness to put your own life at risk for those in your same unit or for national security. There is nothing like this in the civilian world. And yet, in recent years, and fast forward to when I was on the presidential commission on the assignment of women in the armed forces, I became very aware that there is a faction, and it's even more intense today, that wants to change the culture of the military to say that it is like any other equal opportunity employer, that equal opportunity in career advancement should be the most important thing. Those who took this view on the commission, they were in the minority. But they voted for things that we are seeing playing out now, such as women in direct ground combat units. They see this as a gender diversity issue. And they are ignoring or trying to downplay the effect on military necessity, military readiness, combat effectiveness, this is the crux of the argument. Which is most important, combat effectiveness or equal opportunity and the advancement of social agendas?

FRANK GAFFNEY:

This really is the crux of it in a way because that character - and I think that's an appropriate term here, that character of the military is and has been so central to the quality of the people that it attracts and the kind of performance that they turn in when they have respect for one another, they have respect for their commanding officers, in particular, versus when they don't. So I think you're so right to be calling attention to this, Elaine. And when you look at this culture of the military, intangible thought it may be, is there any question in your mind that what has been going on with respect to this agenda of transforming the armed forces, that this has been a central target, really, the culture of the military, the character of the military, in their efforts?

ELAINE DONNELLY:

The reason the military is a target for leftist activism is because everyone in the military must follow orders. Just like the mid-level to, well, flag end generals sometimes, who address the presidential commission, they are not really free to dissent from the orders they're given. This is what makes the military very vulnerable to leftist forces who want to use it to advance social agendas rather than improve its strength and readiness. The intangibles are even more important than what you can see with weapons systems, ships and planes, how much money is spent on things involving training. What is really important is unit cohesion and we learned on the presidential commission how special this quality is. And it can and must be taught, it can be nurtured, it can also be weakened. You see, in the military, cohesion has a different definition than it does in the civilian world. Cohesion in a unit means mutual trust for survival in battle. It's not just about doing tasks together, it's not just social, going out for beers together, it is mutual trust for survival. Now if you put into those units people who cannot literally rescue others in battle if they need to be rescued, who cannot be part of the team effectively, seeking out and attacking the enemy, then you undermine that unit cohesion. There's also something called vertical cohesion. And that means trust between commanders and the troops they lead. Now if commanders say, look, I want you to pretend that there are no differences between men and women, I want you to pretend that strength doesn't matter, I want you to pretend that even though we are introducing into your units people who are less strong, less fast, less accurate in marksmanship after fatigue sets in, but we're going to pretend that it's all perfectly fine and perfectly normal, this is a violation of one of the cultural factors in the military and that is meritocracy. The military has always had respect for meritocracy. If you're the best, you're going to advance. And race has nothing to do with this. In fact, one of the reasons that racial integration was successful in the military before the civilian world - imperfect, yes, but certainly well in advance of the military, of the civilian world, is because meritocracy allowed people to rise in the ranks. You had minorities routinely bossing subordinates who are a majority. This is the way the military has always operated until this administration. Now these values are being turned upside down.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Elaine, this is such a critical point. And I think in addition to sort of meritocracy as the organising function. There is this other character that you alluded to a moment ago and that is integrity. And what really is being stood on its head here when people are making these representations that things that everybody knows matters, particularly in combat, don't matter. Elaine, so much more to talk about. We're going to get into some of the ways in which this agenda is taking down the culture of the United States military and thereby unfortunately putting all of us at risk as well. More of that with Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, right after this.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Welcome back. A very special conversation with Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, one of our country's preeminent authorities on what's going on with respect to the various efforts to fundamentally transform the United States military and to make it look like something that may or may not work in the civilian world, but is very problematic indeed for our armed forces. And Elaine, a case in point is, of course, the effort to intrude into the combat arms women in the interest of creating this sense that all jobs are open to them and that they can obtain promotions just like men by virtue of having served in these ranks even if they are simply not up to the job. And I'd just like you to sort of walk us through your insights into this, having studied it longer and harder than just about anybody.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

Yes, thank you. Starting in 2012, a remarkable experiment began, actually research began to find out what would happen if the administration's intent played out. And that was announced by the secretary of defence at the time, Leon Panetta, said we're going to eliminate all the exemptions - well, he uses the word restrictions - of women from direct ground combat units. And the first thing we have to do is define that. Direct ground combat means seeking out and attacking the enemy with deliberate offensive action. It goes beyond being in danger, being in harm's way. Women have served with courage. No one has ever questioned the courage of our women who have served in harm's way. Many have lost their lives, many have been injured. We honour and respect their service. But even in the recent wars that we have experienced after 9-11, women have not served in direct ground combat units such as infantry, armour, artillery, special operations forces. These are the units that remain all male. And Navy Seals, I should add.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Our guest is Elaine Donnelly. She is describing the challenge facing the armed forces as the Obama administration has demanded that it accommodate women into ground combat positions that have historically been closed to them. And Elaine, you were just describing the fact that a lot of women have been in combat, but they've not been in these kinds of roles and why has that been to date and what were the results of the research done, particularly by the United States Marine Corps, in this regard?

ELAINE DONNELLY:

In 2012, the Marines started a multi-phased research project. It's unprecedented the work that was done. The first phase we heard about was the infantry officer course at Quantico, Virginia. The Marines were hoping to have one hundred volunteers to try the course. Ultimately, they only had thirty. And all thirty of them failed to succeed on that course. They tried very hard. We respect their trying. The Marines held the line. There's a reason why that course is so tough, but none of the women succeeded. On the enlisted side, there were some enlisted women who made it through enlisted infantry training, which is not as demanding as the infantry officer course. However, injury rates were very high, about six times higher. And basic training, women - they tried an experiment with three pullups, the male minimum. Fifty-five percent of the young women could not do that. Then we know that there were strength tests, simulating armour and artillery heavy lifting. The failure rate for women ranged between eighteen and twenty-eight percent, only one percent for the men. So that experiment didn't work out either. But the most prominent and comprehensive study was done in the field. The task forces that went out there, some of them were mixed gender, some were all male. They were scientifically measured doing combat simulation tasks. In sixty-nine percent of those tests the all-male units outperformed the mixed gender ones. Now, the Marines did everything right. They documented all this. It was empirical evidence. And yet the secretary of defence, Ashton Carter, changed his mind about allowing the Marines to ask for exceptions. And the commandant at the time, General Dunford, did ask for exceptions. He said, no, we're going to go in our own direction anyway. And the Marines will have to now henceforth pretend that gender doesn't matter, that all of their findings don't matter, but guess what? Truth remains true even if it is ignored by the current administration. The next president of the United States can reassess and congress should assess all of the research that's been done. And I think they will find that this was a mistake on the part of this administration and for the sake of women as well as national security and military readiness. These decisions that were unilaterally made by the administration need to be reversed.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

I certainly hope that that will be the case, Elaine. It's unfortunately true that on so many of these agenda items, whether it's what I think of as a wrecking operation against the military, of which this is a particularly egregious example but hardly the only one, or whether it's other steps normalising relations with the Castro regime or doing a nuclear deal with Iran or countless other examples, including on the domestic side of course, the administration is trying to lock things in, trying to insure that whoever comes next can't undo what has been done here. Do you anticipate that that will, as a practical matter, be the case with respect to this integration of women into the combat arms? Or when, as I think it has to, proves to be seriously defective and dangerous, both for those most immediately involved and in terms of their missions, that the next commander-in-chief is going to have to revisit this?

ELAINE DONNELLY:

Well, it remains to be seen. And it all starts with the priorities that are set. Does meritocracy matter? Or are we going to continue to pursue what this administration calls gender diversity metrics? Now a lot of people look on this women in combat issue and they'll say, well, if they meet the same standards, it's okay. What they have to understand is the push for quotas. The secretary of the Navy wants twenty-five percent women in the Navy and Marine Corps. In order to achieve that percentage, you have to lower standards. You have to lower standards, also, to avoid the injury rates. They're at least double in training in the military occupational specialties that require heavy lifting or marching under load. The injury rate is certainly much more than double. It can go as high as six times or ten times as much. This is a social experiment that has yet to play out. How many broken female bodies do we need to have before we realise that this experiment in equality is not working? How many disabled female veterans do we need? So when people say, well, as long as they can do the job then why not, there's a problem there. Because, first of all, the standards will be gender neutral, but lower than before. Injury rates will remain high. The fatigue factor affects marksmanship, the ability to attack the enemy. All of these things don't even begin to - well, we haven't even talked about the social interaction issues.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

We have to pause here in a moment, but just very quickly, the thing that I think is so stunning about this, and seems to be so malfeasant, really, on the part of the secretary of defence and others who have brought this to pass, is that it's not just that they're going to be crippling women for life, quite possibly, by subjecting them to these kinds of demands, it's not just that as a result the others in the unit will have to pick up more of a burden, it is that there may well be a failure to perform the mission that may attend the kinds of difficulties we're talking about here. And I want to pause just at this point to say, I think one of the most important services you render at the Center for Military Readiness, Elaine Donnelly, is helping speak about these very practical and yet little understood, little appreciated, little addressed issues that are so central to not just the culture of the military, but really as your organisation is all about, its readiness as well. We're going to continue our very important conversation with Elaine Donnelly, the president at the Center for Military Readiness, right after this.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Welcome back. Our guest is Elaine Donnelly, the president at the Center for Military Readiness, a woman who has been in a number of important advisory roles over her distinguished record of service to our country, including as a woman assigned to the defence advisory committee on women in the services and the presidential commission on the assignment of women in the armed forces. She received the Admiral John Henry Towers Award from the New York naval aviation commandery for her support of naval aviations and the Ronald Reagan Award in the 2002 annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Elaine, recognitions that you have well deserved. Visit further a little bit with us about this issue of what it means to a unit, especially a ground combat unit, especially a special operations ground combat unit, if somehow or other a woman washes out, she's injured out or she is caused to be pregnant, therefore has to leave her unit. What's it do to the readiness, to say nothing of the esprit de corps of it?

ELAINE DONNELLY:

Well, the Pentagon has decided that gender diversity is more important than what happens when things go wrong. Major reports, actually several of them done by the Rand Corporation, says, well, yes, we admit there will be problems but we will mitigate the problems. This word mitigate keeps coming up. Actually, there are problems that cannot be mitigated. There is not a single study showing that if you give women more vitamin supplements and more exercise that they will become stronger or the physical equivalents of men. Certainly the -

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Well, they may become stronger, but they won't become unbreakable.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

They will become - that's right -

FRANK GAFFNEY:

That's the problem.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

The same training given to men will make them stronger yet. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that women can become the physical equals of men. If there were, we would certainly see women competing against men in the Olympics. None of those competitions are gender integrated. Those that are, like the extreme skiing sports that we see, the injury rates are just much higher among women than they are among the male skiers. We don't have women on the football teams. We've got physically fit cheerleaders. Should we put the cheerleaders on the team and say, well, all the teams in the NFL should have the same gender diversity? Well, that would be a safer social experiment. The Navy Seals, the Rangers, special operations forces, the infantry and the like, they are required to put their lives on the line. And the secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, he should have known this because when he was serving in Vietnam, an incident occurred where he had to rescue his own brother by pulling him out of an armed vehicle. It was on fire and it was about to explode. He performed that. Because he was a man. And he wasn't a superhuman muscular man, but he saved his brother. Should anyone's life be lost because they cannot save someone else in trouble in their combat situation? This is an experiment where lives are at risk. It's not like a football game, it's not an Olympic competition. It is so serious. And yet we hear these very shallow assurances, oh, don't worry, whatever the problem is, we will mitigate it.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

And Elaine, you know, just to take this to the analogy that you've just given us, say you're putting a very fit cheerleader in the defensive line against a very powerful male. That's not really that different than a combat situation in which you're down to hand to hand combat and, you know, there may be martial arts and other techniques that can compensate to some extent, but there is a point at which just sheer body mass and physical strength can determine the outcome. And the old line about, you know, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link applies here, too, I think, doesn't it?

ELAINE DONNELLY:

There's a video out there of a female, I think it's a female Marine, she's got a pugil stick. And she's strong, she's tall, she's going to take on this man. He runs towards her and mows her down. And everybody says, wow, well, this is the normal way it's going to be. One of the things the presidential commission considered was the cultural erosion that goes on when we're training men to beat up on women in training and to get used to the idea of the enemy inflicting certainly danger and violence on our female soldiers. And there are forms of violence that are unique to women that we've seen in war. The idea that we are going to subject female soldiers and Marines to not just higher injury rates but greater risks if they, God forbid, should be captured by the enemy and become part of their tool of propaganda. These kinds of issues should trouble the nation. But I'm sorry to say that since the presidential commission the nation has gotten used to the idea of violence against women as long as it happens at the hands of the enemy. I don't see this as progress. It certainly is not pro-women. And I think women in the military who don't want this, 92.5 percent of army women, when asked, said, they would not want to take one of these direct ground combat units - or assignments.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Well, this - and this raises the question, Elaine, you have been warning about this, I think you very eloquently described what it does to the culture of the military, that the military, really, as sort of an exemplar of the best in the culture of our country, really, for that matter as well, you're talking about most women - I mean, an overwhelming majority of women in the armed forces today who would not voluntarily take on one of these jobs and yet they're establishing quotas for the number of women that have to be in these units. Are they going to have to compel women, order women into these ground combat positions against their will?

ELAINE DONNELLY:

It's already happening with small groups of women. The non-commissioned officers and junior officers are supposed to go into these combat units first. And then enlisted women follow. Now, you could ask, well, why do you have to have women going ahead. If we're going to have women in combat and they're self-sufficient enough for that, then why do we have to have these NCOs go in first? Well, those NCOs will be ordered to perform this mission. And it raises questions. Are we going to have a split in the chain of command? Let's say an enlisted woman has a problem that is unique to being in an all-male unit. She is at a disadvantage. She's not as strong. They know it, she knows it, everybody knows it. Well, there's going to be all - you talk about microaggressions. The women are going to suffer resentment like they've not seen before. Undeserved resentment. But if she goes to the female advocate, the female NCO, this is very much like what happens with children, when they have a dispute between one parents or the other, they'll go to mommy and say, well, daddy says this or they'll go the other way. They play one parents across - against each other. Is this the kind of thing we want? This would be deadly to unit cohesion, trust for command, the appearance of special treatment and double standards. Even when they don't exist, and most often they will exist, this has the potential of dividing the tip of the spear units, the direct ground combat units, where it would hurt the most. And if you have inappropriate relationships on either side of the spectrum, romantic relationships or assaults on the other end, what you have is a really problematic situation. Because you have charges, you have people removed from that unit, they will not be replaced. You have division. You have people taking sides. You have pregnancies. Pregnancies on the romantic side, that means non-deployability is a factor in these very small units where it really matters. These are the kinds of problems that everyone in the military is supposed to pretend are not existing. It's a denial of reality. But all of us, we civilians, we have to live in the real world. And I'm very disappointed that members of congress have yet to take these issues seriously.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Again, I think it's one of the things that you have done so importantly, often to great criticism, needless to say, but so importantly in speaking on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves in uniform, and that is pointing out the devastating effect that these inclusions of men and women in close quarters inevitably translate into sexual tensions of one kind or another. And there's been a lot of talk, of course, of late about the rapes that have been taking place in the military and commanders held accountable for, you know, not adequately policing those. We are looking at a set of arrangements that can only exacerbate that problem it seems to me and we're going to talk more about that in a moment. We have to pause before our conversation with Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness resumes.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

We're back. We're having a conversation that is, I think, of incredible importance to the future conduct and ability to perform the vital missions assigned it of our US military. We're having it with Elaine Donnelly, one of our military's most influential and I think informed champions, especially when it comes to matters affecting its readiness. She is, in fact, the president of the Center for Military Readiness. And Elaine, we've been talking about a lot of different pieces of what's happening to the military at the moment, most especially in connection with this idea that we're going to let the facts be damned and just press ahead with putting women into ground combat positions. And you were describing some of the difficulties that are associated with just the sheer fact of putting young men and women in very close quarters, translating into sexual tensions and pregnancies and the like. And I had to interrupt you. Finish that thought.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

The unrealistic theories that are being put in play here are just astonishing. As if sexuality does not matter. As if training alone can hold back the sheer force of sexual complications that occur on both ends of that spectrum between romantic relationships and assaults. Perhaps the most extreme example would be in Navy Seals and Rangers and Delta Force, the special operations forces. When they deploy, they don't have blankets and creature comforts. They sometimes have to huddle together, skin to skin, and we know what that means, but most people have never heard this phrase before. I leaned about when I visited the Navy Seals in Coronado in 1992. And the admiral in charge there said, you know, if you introduced the element of sexuality in the intimate kinds of not just training but deployments that the special operations forces get into, you are really inviting trouble. It's not going to work. Eighty-five percent of Navy Seals, in a survey done by Rand, expressed strong opposition. They were ignored. You see, when Rand finds maybe one outlier, somebody who says, well, maybe we can work it out, they will highlight that one person and ignore the eighty-five percent who are saying something contrary to the administration's ideology.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Yeah. This is the phenomenon that I think you've done more than anybody at the Center for Military Readiness to chronicle and to try to hold people accountable for, Elaine Donnelly. Whether it's cooking the books on the whole idea of having women meet the same standards as men or whether it's the ignoring of the study that the US military, the Marines specifically, did on how this actually works in practice or whether it's using very, very unobjective, shall we say, organisations like the Rand Corporation to do some of these studies here. It's truly scandalous and it's going to get people killed, I'm afraid.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

I see it as a racket. Because the Rand Corporation, especially, they issue polemics promoting women in combat on a regular basis. And the amount of money that they're making producing these things, it is truly scandalous. But while we're on the Navy Seals, you've seen pictures of them doing sit-ups in the surf, heavy logs on their stomachs. You see them lifting heavy things and having to run everywhere up and down the beach. The obstacle course there is the most awesome thing I've ever seen. What will happen when women cannot meet that standard? Well, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff himself, Martin Dempsey, General Martin Dempsey, said, well, if the standard is too high and women can't perform it, we will question the standard. Do they really have to do all those sit-ups in the surf with a heavy log on their stomach? Well, maybe not. So one by one by one - and I see evidence it's already starting, any element of training that becomes too difficult for women will become quietly removed. There is no mechanism to monitor whether or not standards are staying the same. And they won't stay the same because, in order to accommodate gender diversity metrics, you're going to have to make it easier for women to compete. This is an erosion of high standards.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

And the thing is, a lot of men wash out of that course, of course, as you know. And the reason that the standards are set as high as they are is you want people to be able to perform what amount to superhuman feats, just about, when they are in these extraordinarily highly-trained, highly-skilled, you know, special operations units and have to do highly-demanding missions. And to think that's not going to be a problem when more men who shouldn't be able to meet the test pass and a lot of women who shouldn't be able to meet the test pass because they won't be able to do the job. And that's really the crux of the problem here.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

Well, that's when lives get lost and -

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Yes.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

- missions fail.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

That's the point. That's exactly the point. And it is a question of compromising your success at the mission and unnecessarily losing our servicemen's lives and servicewomen, in this case. Elaine, so we talked earlier about the fact that there will be, there may already be, evidence that women are being forced to serve in some of these ground combat positions, initially as senior NCOs and young, you know, commissioned officers. There is now, as you know, afoot an effort, I think ironically brought to us by an opponent of the idea, Congressman Duncan Hunter, but nonetheless now put in play to insist that women be drafted or at least comply with the Selective Service requirement to register for the purposes of ultimately having them be drafted in the event that that becomes necessary again, once again to rely on the draft. Tell us what on earth is going on here as kind of an example of the congressional role in all of these issues.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

It was astonishing to watch the mark-up of the national defence authorisation bill in the House armed services committee. Duncan Hunter, who opposes the idea, offered legislation to include women in Selective Service obligations, including a possible future draft in a national emergency. Now, if he expected opposition to ensue, he was disappointed. Because six Republicans voted for it in committee and all of the Democrats except for one. This was - this was a dereliction of oversight on the part of those who voted yes on that amendment. Because they're not thinking this through. If, say we had a national emergency, I mean, we're being attacked from more than one direction, the all-volunteer force, which is so depleted now, cannot cope with this. Congress decides to reinstitute selective service. If this Hunter amendment is law - and the president would sign it, we know that, it would get through the Senate, then they would have to call up fifty percent women, fifty percent men. But there's a problem. Seventy-five percent of the men would be potentially physically qualified or they could be raised to that level. But seventy-five percent of the women are not. Now I'm just using rough numbers here, but you get the idea. It would be administratively catastrophic to bring in all of these female potential draftees knowing that they are not going to be physically qualified. And to do so at a time of national emergency would make it even harder to find those that are. So for military readiness reasons as well as the impact on unsuspecting civilian women who have no idea that this is going on, congress has got to get rid of this amendment, maybe learn a lesson. You have to take these issues seriously, folks. It's not an equal opportunity issue. It's a national defence issue. Let's hope that, maybe, if this amendment is extracted the next time around, congress will have hearings on all of the research that was done. The implications of selective service could depend on that because, you see, the Supreme Court tied the issues together. Women in combat and selective service. You don't draft anyone unless it is to become combat replacements in a national emergency. If women are not potential combat replacements, then it was okay to exempt them. And you know what? It still could be. According to law professor William Woodruff, who has studied this issue extensively, he said that if you looked at the administrative problems, congress could make a plausible case, a solid case, that including women in registration would hurt military readiness. Even under the current policies where women can volunteer for anything.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Elaine, we're going to come back in just a moment with a final segment to discuss, among other things, what the implications of all of this are. Straight ahead.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

We're visiting with Elaine Donnelly, the keeper of the flame, as far as I'm concerned, when it comes to the civilian world's responsibility for assuring that our men and women in uniform have the - not just the equipment and not just the training, but the culture, the environment in which they are able to do the horrifically difficult and dangerous job we ask them to do for all of us. Which is to be fit and ready to fight our nation's wars. And Elaine, you've said so much that is troubling, I think, to anybody objectively listening to what is happening to the military and the motivations that seem to be operating not just, you know, from the White House and the president and Valerie Jarrett, I assume, and Susan Rice and other women who are clearly seized with this idea of integrating women into various positions, including combat positions in the military, and leadership positions also, by the way. But one of their other agenda items, as you know so well, having fought it tooth and tong for a long time, was abandoning the prohibition on overtly homosexual individuals from serving in the ranks. For the same sorts of reasons. That it would have real and deleterious effects on readiness and morale and so on. We've gone over that cliff some time ago now. And I'm interested in sort of your take on how that's working and with what effect on the military as a result.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

All the predictions that we made at the time congress was considering repealing the law regarding gays in the military, this was back in 2010, all of the predictions have played out. Threats to religious liberty, personal privacy, marriage benefits to same sex couples. But we have a new policy now called LGBT Law. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and now comes the T in the LGBT. Transgender. We predicted that this would logically lead in this direction. And the military would lead the way in trying to embrace transgenders in the military. Now, let's make it clear. Transgenderism, it's a mental issue, psychological issue, it requires treatment. You can have sympathy for people who are afflicted with this. Gender dysphoria is what it's called. But in the military, it would be even more -

FRANK GAFFNEY:

It's called that by medical professionals, too. This isn't something that you're assigning to it. This is the standard definition of the phenomenon.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

That's right. Medical professionals determine gender dysphoria is a condition that is - it's psychological. It does require treatment. There are other psychological conditions that are not treated like a civil rights issue or a special class. You treat them. You try to help those people. But in the military, where there is virtually no privacy, if you say that gender doesn't matter, this is really a threat. Because if you have men walking into facilities that are intended for the private functions of women, and we're talking showers and bathroom facilities, certainly living quarters, you are opening the door not just to transgenders, but to people who would abuse women. Who would make them feel uncomfortable, whose rights of privacy would be violated. This would be more intense a problem in the military. And we haven't seen it yet. We're already seeing it in the civilian world. It's going to be a big fight. But June is LGBT equality month. It will be the last time this president has the opportunity to impose by executive order his agenda. And everyone needs to brace for this. This is going to be perhaps the crowning achievement of a sorry administration in this commander-in-chief's leadership of the military. This is something that congress may have to intervene.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

The president's desires to fundamentally transform the military, to make it over into sort of a social engineering operation that will enable more impact on the social reengineering of the civil society, is troubling in its own right. But, again, if it actually means that what you're seeing is a wrecking operation on the performance of the United States military, you've enumerated, you know, half a dozen different things, any one of which would be a nightmare for commanders trying to insure that their troops can fight the fight.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

There's one more important factor or prediction made that has been played out. Just in the last two days, the latest report of the sexual assault prevention and response office, SAPRO, came out and I'm looking at this number and I can't believe what I'm reading. No one else has reported it. The numbers of sexual assaults on men, male on male, nineteen percent is the figure now. It has been creeping up since 2010. It was ten percent, then it was fourteen percent. This says nineteen percent in the year - and most of them are indeed other men. This number, it's always disguised, they kind of put it in small print. They used to have graphs, the pie charts. They don't show the pie charts anymore. But I know where to look for these things and I see this number that is just standing out. And you see that sexual assaults in general have more than doubled since the year, fiscal year 2007. So what we're seeing is a trend of sexual misconduct. It's affecting women, it's affecting men. It makes military life more difficult and more dangerous. People are human. They make mistakes. And when they do in the military, there is no escaping because you can't just quit your job and go away and avoid that person. It disrupts everyone. When someone needs to report a crime or being uncomfortable, we don't want anyone to be assaulted or made to feel uncomfortable in the military. SAPRO has done some good things and we're glad of that, but the trend lines, what Rand does, Rand says, oh, this is a good thing because people are reporting more often. Whereas before they were afraid to report. And men are even more reluctant than women are. Excuse me, I prefer to live in the real world. When you have numbers going up at rates like this, you better face reality. This social experiment is not working.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

It's a reminder, of course, that we have an all-volunteer force. And that the men and women who are serving in it now, they may not have the choice, as you say, to walk off the job and go do something else at a moment, but they certainly have the opportunity to decide whether to make it a career. Whether to stay on, to re-up, as they say, when they come to the end of their time. And every time someone who has been trained at very considerable expense to do a specific job decides that they're not going to stay with it, that it's just not worth it, that the cost to them, their family, their other loved ones, perhaps, is just not justified, that we've made it so unbearably hard for them to just do what they signed up to do, which is to defend our country, it really puts at risk the all-volunteer force. Which brings us back to the point that you made earlier, that we may well find ourselves having to draft people to serve in uniform. And there are arguments for doing that.

ELAINE DONNELLY:

That's right. And I think it's important to add, too, that, you know, women have always served their country in time of emergency. They would step up, I'm confident, that women would step up if we had a catastrophic threat against America. We know that will happen. There's no need to say, well, because there might be a few in a huge number who might be physically qualified, that means we should register and draft every female of draft age. This is illogical.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

And a serious mistake to boot. Elaine, we are out of time. This has been a most bracing, if difficult, conversation. I appreciate so much the work you do at the Center for Military Readiness and I think our audience does as well. I look forward to further conversations with you about this hopefully on the other side of the congress deciding not to put women into the selective service system. But in any event, as you continue to do the important work you do in exposing and holding accountable people for these social experimentations and engineering operations against the most important asset, arguably, of our United States government, the only military we have. Keep up that good work and come back to us again, Elaine, very soon. I hope the rest of you will do the same again tomorrow. Same time, same station. Until then, this is Frank Gaffney. Thanks for listening.

Frank Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. Under Mr. Gaffney's leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters. Mr. Gaffney formerly acted as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy during the Reagan Administration, following four years of service as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy. Previously, he was a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee under the chairmanship of the late Senator John Tower, and a national security legislative aide to the late Senator Henry M. Jackson.

Read his Secure Freedom Minute - click here


blog comments powered by Disqus

FSM Archives

10 year FSM Anniversary

More in PUBLICATIONS ( 1 OF 25 ARTICLES )