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Sex In The Military: What Did They Expect?

By Edwin Feulner President,

The Heritage Foundation

May 29, 1997

If you think about all the recent stories concerning sex scandals in the U.S. military, you have to either laugh or explode with rage at the harm that's being done by the naiveté and cowardice of our leaders in Washington.

Think about it: Before the Clinton administration began training men and women together and placing large numbers of women in combat-support roles in the military, it received ample warning from experienced military leaders of the consequences that might follow.

In public testimony, the military brass told Congress something that should be fairly obvious to anyone: If you place young men and women in the prime of their sexual lives in the kind of close, prolonged proximity characteristic of all military duty, sparks are going to fly. No kidding!

Attachments are going to form, sexual activity will ensue, followed by pregnancy (is this beginning to sound familiar?). The fact that there are lots of males and relatively few females will foster clandestine social competition, poisoning the work atmosphere with undercurrents of distrust and animosity, not to mention lust. Regardless of whether the situation erupts into overt rape, it will always be disruptive and undermine the cohesion, morale and discipline so vital to the success of life-and-death military missions.

None of this is intended to excuse any of the behavior that has been uncovered. But the horror being expressed is a bit like parents being shocked -- shocked! -- to find that clean-cut Johnnie got straight-laced Suzy pregnant when they were allowed to spend a weekend together in the mountains. Both children must be held responsible for their actions, and face the consequences. But what did you expect? None of this is too difficult to figure out.

Or is it? Remember: Military leaders had to explain all of this to Congress and the Clinton administration, and were ignored. Why?

Because the government still provides a haven for certain leftover, discredited, 60s-era ideologies that don't recognize normal human behavior as given. On the contrary, they see it as the result of social conditioning. People aren't the way they are because of any innate qualities -- they're all products of their environment, the behaviorists say. Simply change their conditioning, and people will change. They'll become radical feminists!

That's right. Radical feminists and their harebrained ideas about humanity are behind the current fiasco. When matters everyone else has understood since the dinosaurs were explained to feminist lawmakers like former Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., and others, the reaction was eye-rolling skepticism. Surely, feminists wondered, this "urge" can be controlled. What happened, they wondered, to the much-vaunted "military discipline" (something they had heard about long ago at summer camp)? Just impose that discipline thing, you know -- and the problem will be solved.

Believe it or not, our leaders went along with this. Why? Because the current leadership of the United States not only contains a number of people who have been rendered sexually naive by their obtuse ideologies -- it also contains an even greater number who are scared spineless of the first group.

Never mind that traditional military doctrine has never contended that "military discipline" could overcome the sexual urge; in fact, quite the contrary. It has always insisted that the close quarters of combat duty was no place to mix the sexes. Never, in literally thousands of years of military experience, has this wisdom been disproved.

Get real, people: Men and women are too much of a distraction to each other to work at optimum efficiency in close military operations where life and death are at stake.

Is this so hard to understand and deal with?

Casualties of the Navy's Thought Police

By Edwin Feulner

August 17, 1995

Now, the Navy must cope with tragedies like that of Kara Hultgreen, the first woman promoted to fly a Navy fighter jet, who was killed earlier this year while attempting a carrier landing. After first claiming that "engine failure" caused Hultgreen's crash, the Navy later admitted that pilot error was involved. Now they say Hultgreen was qualified for flight duty despite errors in previous carrier landings that would have disqualified male pilots.

A growing number of critics, both inside and outside the military, think the Navy is sacrificing too much on the altar of political correctness, including the high training standards that might have saved Hultgreen's life.


By John Luddy

America Does Not Need A Kinder, Gentler Military. Despite their justified outrage at the Tailhook incident, Americans must realize that the military needs fighters, not laboratorysubjects for experiments in social engineering. The purpose of the military is to fight and win wars, not to serve as a jobs program or as a vehicle for social change. If the federal government is to ask men to risk their lives in combat, it must not create an environment that will increase that risk. This is what putting women into combat positions would do. Far from solving the problem of sexual misconduct, women in combat would merely feminize the warrior culture of the armed services, and thereby weaken its ability to do its job.

Women do not belong in combat for several reasons. There is a risk that physical standards for combat training will be compromised if women are allowed into combat positions where those standards are critically important, such as in the infantry and in special operations units. There is also the disruption of the military's mission that will result from the pregnancy of female troops in combat positions.

But most damaging would be the devastating impact on the morale, team cohesion, and fighting spirit of the armed forces. Combat is a team activity which brings infantrymen and sailors moreclosely together than any other form of work. Some women may indeed be as physically and mentally capable as men to perform some combat duties, but what matters more in combat is notindividual ability, but teamwork. The presence of women in combat units, especially those in the infantry, would disrupt the teamwork that makes a difference between victory and defeat on the battlefield. Special relationships inevitably would develop, introducing new risks as men acted differently in combat toward females than they do toward males.


The following articles are from the website for the

Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute (


Feminists' experiment with the military Women have always served in our military with honor and distinction. There was commonsense separation of women and men in their living quarters and the natural privacy and modesty most men and women want was the norm. But in today's armed services women are forced to live beside men day and night in foxholes, tents, and other absurdly close quarters inevitably leading a small but very visible number of servicemen and women to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Feminist influence has changed the military by insisting that men and women be treated exactly the same in all circumstances. Some have said that love (or at least lust) rather than war is what is really damaging the United States military today.According to Suzanne Fields, a Luce Policy Institute campus speaker and nationally syndicated columnist with The Washington Times, in Bosnia, an American servicewoman turns up pregnant every third day. At least 15 women were recentlyevacuated from the USS Eisenhower because they were in a family way and another 24 weren't able to deploy because they were expecting. Sexual harassment complaints are becoming as frequent as reveille, starting with theCommander-in-Chief whose sexual harassment case is now awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court. The spector of the draft dodger Bill Clinton claiming exemption from prosecution because he was on active duty adds to the circus atmosphere of some of the current military sex scandals. And yetthe feminists want to give Clinton a free pass but have the full weight of the law fall upon a lowly NCO. The experiment demanded by radical feminists has failed -- our new coed battle units in tents, foxholes, and other quarters that don't allow for privacy clearly are not working out.The five servicewomen recruits from Aberdeen Proving Grounds base in Maryland who claim they were intimidated by investigators into charging rape by their drill instructors, show that some military women have become pawns in thisgame of feminist social engineering. Feminists contend there wouldn't be so many problems if servicewomen overseas were allowed to obtain abortions at their military facilities. And at the mere mention of separate training for some,feminists' backs bow, their brows curl and they howl about entrenched sexism in our society and the necessity to make men and women the same (not just equal, but indistinguishable). The truth that the feminists do not want to acknowledge is that the military is not a little stageon which they can act out the latest in feminist farce. Rather it is a deadly and serious world unto itself which must be maintained at a high level of readiness. This starts with training full of exercises, and unit building. Training need not include Lamaze birthing classes for the time whenyour fellow sailor is in delivery in your tent. Nor should training include even consensual sex outside of holy matrimony, a principle which reporting on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds incidents seemed to take lightly. Whether the feminists are demanding bigger government which takes money from every family's paycheck, or the absolute sameness of treatment in the military that has resulted in lost privacy and sexual misbehaviors, the women the feministsrepresent end up the losers.

Feminist Follies Fall 1996

Equality the Feminist Way: Destroy VMI This past July, while the nation was watching the Olympics and enjoying the sun, an outrageous decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court. As a result, Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the nation's oldest military college, will never be the same again. In a demoralizing decision, the Supreme Court ruled that VMI's single sex admissions policy unconstitutionally discriminates against women. Founded in 1839 and rich in tradition and southern history, VMI is one of only two state supported military schools in the nation.Feminist groups hailed the decision as a triumph for women everywhere. They were especially proud that their own Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a lifelong liberal feminist, wrote the court's opinion. Before the Supreme Court announced its decision,feminists advocated equality with "no ifs, ands, or buts."Women's rights groups demanded that they be allowed toapply for admission to VMI because alternatives lacked the"rigor, discipline, and physical and mental hardships, basedstereotypes that women are frail, weak little creatures andsimply can't stand up to it." In her opinion, Justice Ginsburg wrote that there are women who are capable "of all the individual activities required of VMI cadets. ... and can meet the physical standards VMI now imposes on men."VMI plans to comply completely with Justice Ginsburg'scontention that nothing should be different at a coed VMI andsays that a woman who attends VMI will have her hair cut, aminimum of privacy, and the same physical standards requiredof a man. Yet, the same feminists who claimed that they wanted equality before the VMI lawsuit was decided are nowcomplaining that they want women treated differently from themen at VMI. Karen Johnson, Vice President of NOW, says that the short haircut is just a way of being vindictive. She claims VMI's plans to cut all cadets hair the same is analogous of Nazis shaving the heads of female prisoners to shame them. Now that the ACLU has forced VMI to admit women, they've changed their tune to say that true equality "means making some allowances that recognize the differences in the sexes." If these feminists want, as they say they do, simply to help women, then they are failing miserably. Instead they have ended VMI as we know it simply to advance the agenda of gender politics. The traditional male VMI cadet simply cannot discipline women the way that he disciplines male cadets -- in the adversative system of education that so uniquely characterizes the VMI experience. VMI men do not treat women that way. So the feminists' greatest victory was not in gaining admission for women to VMI -- it was in destroying the institution of VMI, whose traditions and methods of operation offended them.Justice Antonin Scalia, the only justice voting againstforcing VMI to admit women, wrote, "I do not think any ofus, women included, will be better off for VMI's destruction."Justice Clarence Thomas, who's son attends VMI, did nottake part in the decision.

Sacrificing Safety and Military Readiness in the Name of Safety (August 17, 1999)

A divided congressional commission endorsed sex-integrated recruit training in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Coed basic training was first implemented by the Clinton administration in 1994. Because the military leadership has capitulated to political correctness, the placement of some women in the services is creating an atmosphere that is diminishing morale and leading to dangerous situations in the event of conflict. Dissentors from the endorsement wrote, "Not only is there evidence of serious problems in gender-integrated basic training, but there is also substantial evidence that gender-separate training produces superior results."

Consider a few facts showing the problems with a fullyintegrated military:

In today’s armed services women are forced to live besidemen day and night in foxholes, tents, and other absurdlyclose quarters inevitably leading to a very visible numberof servicemen and women to behave in inappropriateways.

Women have always served in our military with honor. There used to be commonsense separation of men and women in their living quarters and the natural privacy and modesty most men and women want was the norm.

In preparing the report, commission members visited andtalked with many female trainees on military bases aroundthe nation. Most of the female trainees told the commission that they enjoyed coed trainng because the men were very helpful. The males would do things like lift heavy objects and in return the females would do the mens’ ironing or some other domestic service. As written in the report, "Gender-integrated training may be reinforcing, rather than eliminating, stereotypes."

In a

recent report by the Cogressional Commission onMilitary Training and Gender related Issues, militarytrainers were asked if discipline had declined during thefive years of coed training. Seventy-six percent of maletrainers and 74 percent of female trainers said disciplinehad either "somewhat" or "significantly" dropped.

America must ensure that the military is as cohesive andeffective as possible and national security must be the firstpriority. These priorities must take precedence over feministgameplaying about gender equity. Women can be effectivemembers of the military if decision-makers will implementcommonsense policies rather than feminist nonsense. Thetruth that radical feminists and liberals do not want to accept is that the military is not a stage in which they can act out their latest political farce. It is a deadly serious world unto itself that must be maintained at a high level of readiness.

Radical feminism looking for yet another way to demonstrate that women are the perennial victims of Western European culture -- scorned and oppressed by a patriarchal society. To understand why gender equity programs are absurd, you have only to confront the false or exaggerated assumption on which they are based -- the corrective measures they employ.The fundamental premise of gender equity can be summarized as follows: There are no inherent differences between men and women, other than those that are anatomical -- no emotional or mental traits that are inherently masculine or feminine (1). All such distinction are artificial constructs of a male dominated society. If, for example, boys were given dolls to play with and girls were given guns, men would be society's nannies and women would be its soldiers. Each would take on the mental and emotional characteristics currently attributed to the other. Such a view ignores the recorded anecdotes of boys who, when given a doll, go around pretending to shoot things with it.