The Feminization of the Army

I read The Feminization of America a few weeks ago, and that theme has been bouncing around my cranial cavity ever since.

We may be headed for a significant war shortly, one that will require rapid expansion of our forces. The Army can only do that through the draft. Now that women can serve in ground maneuver units, will we draft women?

There needs to be a national discussion on this issue. When then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, faced with an impending lawsuit concerning women in combat, signed off on opening combat arms to women, it was a bureaucratic action done without congressional approval or national discourse. The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) has ramrodded this agenda.

The considerations surrounding this are immensely complex. While equality and equity are undoubtedly important, so are biological necessities. The United Kingdom’s “Lost Generation” deeply affected its culture and future. This author is the result of the loss of German men during World War II, as my German mother met my American father when he was stationed there in the early 1950s. Combat and strategic bombings killed most of her male contemporaries.

Can a nation survive if it takes catastrophic losses of women during their vital child-bearing ages? This is a question of biological necessity: who will populate the next war’s boomer generation?

If we now allow women to serve in the maneuver combat arms, equality and equity demand that young women sign up for the draft as do their male counterparts. As the father of a daughter, I am a firm “no” on this issue, yet my daughter is a serving Navy surface warfare officer of whom I am immensely proud. Talk about being conflicted on this issue.

Further compounding this topic is the physiological difference highlighted by current discussions of whether transwomen should participate in women’s sports? Biological male differences give greater strength and speed to transwomen (XY) than their competition, whose genetic makeup is XX.

If biologically, men are stronger and faster than women, wouldn’t placing women on the physically arduous ground gaining combat arms (infantry and armor) units be counterproductive? Further impacting this issue is the quota system that the Army euphemistically clouds as “goals” of requiring at least two female officers or noncommissioned officers into each combat arms company.

Studies were conducted on the effects of placing women in these units. Perhaps the most reliable were those undertaken by the Marine Corps, which found that “[T]eams with female members performed at lower overall levels, completed tasks more slowly, and fired weapons with less accuracy than their all-male counterparts. In addition, they sustained significantly higher injury rates and demonstrated lower levels of performance capacity overall.”

Elaine Donnelly, in an interview with the Washington Times, stated: “Double risks of injury among women, combined with expected absences due to pregnancy and other gender-related issues, would be even more problematic in small combat units with four to 12 members, such as M1 tank crews, infantry rifle squads, or cannon artillery gun crews. The absence of female team members would compromise missions and put everyone’s lives at greater risk.”

I would add that small units do not need the sexual tensions of a coed team at the height of their sexual prowess injected into the mix of an already challenging situation.

Captain Katie Petronio, a hard-charging female Marine officer and former collegiate athlete, had this to say:

The physical strain of enduring combat operations and the stress of being responsible for the lives and the well-being of such a young group in an extremely kinetic environment were compounded by lack of sleep, which ultimately took a physical toll on my body that I couldn’t have foreseen.

By the fifth month into the deployment, I had muscle atrophy in my thighs that was causing me to constantly trip and my legs to buckle with the slightest grade change. My agility during firefights and mobility on and off vehicles and perimeter walls was seriously hindering my response time and overall capability. It was evident that stress and muscular deterioration was affecting everyone regardless of gender; the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines and compounded by gender-specific medical conditions.

The Army’s failed attempt to develop a gender-neutral physical fitness standard underscores Captain Petronio’s personal experience. The fact that males are held to a higher standard is acceptable in competition, but when replacing first and second place with “life or death,” the stakes have more meaning.

But what about the first Army female Rangers? Doesn’t that prove women can perform in combat units? Interestingly, the Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, a West Point graduate, predicted that during his term, “A woman will graduate Ranger School.” The fix was in. Of note was that the first two women graduates were also West Point alumni.

I have observed firsthand the early integration efforts of women into a combat brigade. It was rather comical to hear one plan was to ring the outer walls of a building’s third floor with rolls of concertina wire (barbed or razor wire) to isolate the female rooms as if the male soldiers would “storm the castle” so to speak in seeking sexual favors.

Nearly all the changes the Army has instituted go only one way during this integration process. Running chants have been cleaned up from their ribald and sometimes lewd lyrics at the behest of females shocked after entering “In the Men’s House.” Grooming standards (hairstyles, jewelry, etc.) have been relaxed. These changes always seem one-sided.

If female soldiers can wear long hair, why can’t the men? I was surprised to see a female Armor lieutenant wearing long pigtails, nearly to her waist, thinking, what if they get caught in the many moving parts of the cannon, the turret, and the engine compartment?

These changes, along with the seeming glorification of LGBTQ+ behavior, are having a detrimental effect on Army recruiting. The clueless leadership is “baffled” by white males eschewing military service. They seem oblivious to the connection between the social justice crusade and its “wokeness” in turning off an essential recruiting demographic, rural southern white males. As the great-grandson of a Confederate infantryman, I can understand why in the aftermath of purging all traces of that portion of U.S. history.

“This isn’t your father’s Army,” Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, the Army’s first female three-star, told Military Academy cadets in 1997. She’s got that right. My father, his three brothers, and his future brother-in-law were part of the forces that decisively defeated the Axis powers of Germany and Japan in World War II. What have we won since? The Gulf War, perhaps, but we were back in Iraq about 12 years later.

We should focus on winning and recovering from the next war, not some feel-good gender equality/equity goals. Or our next choice is to learn Mandarin or Cantonese.

Image: U.S. Army

If you experience technical problems, please write to