By Thomas G. Moore, Baker Spring, and John Hillen
National Security, Military Strategy And The Defense Budget
Maintaining A Quality Fighting Force
John Hillen is policy analyst for defense and national security issues at The Heritage Foundation.
Hillen's research focuses on U.S. national security strategy, military threats to the United States, NATO and other U.S. alliances, the sizeand structure of U.S. conventional forces, current U.S. military operations, future military planning, civil-military relations, low-intensity conflict, and non-combat military operations such as peacekeeping.
A former Army cavalry officer, Hillen received a Bronze Star Medal for his combat role in the Gulf War and also served in Germany prior to unification. Hillen, an Army paratrooper, is an active reservist and serves as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command.
Hillen is the author of the book "Blue Helmets in War and Peace," a critical history of UN military operations. He has also published numerous articles on national and international security issues in major newspapers and leading academic, professional, and military journals.
A Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oxford, Hillen holds a master's degree in war studies from the University of London and a bachelor's degree from Duke University.
The U.S. military exists for one principal reason: to fight and win the nation's wars. But an effective military force depends on more than weapons, equipment, and adequate defense budgets. Such intangible human factors as leadership, esprit de corps, morale, mutual trust, andunit cohesion are as vital to an effective combat force as the material factors. These intangibleelements make up the "warrior ethos" that is needed if U.S. armed forces are to win America's wars.
This ethos is under siege. The Clinton Administration has tried to put homosexuals in the military and women in combat positions. This agenda of political correctness will undermine the combateffectiveness of U.S. forces if allowed to continue unchecked. It is eroding morale and corroding the mutual trust that must exist in an effective fighting organization.
The goal of this agenda is to re-create the military services in a fashionable, liberal image. Liberal social activists who exercise an inordinate influence on the Clinton Administration view the military as a federally sponsored vehicle for social experimentation. Because they see it as the last bastion of "male domination," liberals want to de-masculinize the military regardless of the effect on its capacity to do its only job, which is to fight and win America's wars.
Because the military is a command hierarchy, liberal social activists believe they can impose their agenda from the top down. Most service members oppose social engineering of this kindbecause they know it saps the fighting power of the services, and thus exposes them to greaterdanger. But they are intimidated from speaking out, and often find their careers in jeopardy ifthey do not embrace the "diversity" agenda imposed on them from above.
* Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell, all serving Chiefs of Staff, and most former members of the Joint Chiefs have stated unequivocally that acknowledged homosexuals in the military's ranks are harmful to the good order anddiscipline of the services.
* Women currently make up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. armed forces, more than any other nation's military. While women do not serve in so-called direct combat positions in the infantry, armored, or field artillery units, many are being assigned to combat support units, combatant ships, and pilot billets which put them in harm's way.These assignments inevitably would put women in combat during a war.
* During the Persian Gulf War, American women soldiers were taken prisoner for the first time in U.S. history. These women were sexually abused by Iraqi captors. The possibility that women prisoners will be raped and tortured, or that large numbers ofwomen will be killed and wounded in action, could have a dramatically negative effect on American public opinion and on the nation's ability to prosecute a war.
* No other nation places women in combat posts, not even Israel, despite a common misconception to the contrary and even though Israel has a manpower shortage. Israel used women in combat for a short time during its war of independence and made itpolicy never to do so again except in the most dire national emergencies. In the Israel Defense Force, women do receive basic combat training and may be attached tocombat units in support roles, but they do not take part in combat operations.(Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court directed the Israeli armed forces to permit awoman to train as a combat pilot; she has since dropped out of flight training.) Other nations, such as Denmark, allow women to serve in combat units but also note that they are not likely to see combat. In any event, Denmark concedes that its policy was undertaken to satisfy contemporary social mores and could hurt unit cohesion andcombat readiness.
* Introducing women into all combat specialties means creating two different standards in order to account for the physiological differences between women and men. A combat unit's effectiveness is predicated on unit cohesion, which is based inturn on the bonds of trust among soldiers in a unit. Training to two different standards is the surest way to wreck unit morale, raising problems of favoritism and of trainingthat does not meet the standard required by the mission.
Putting women in combat units degrades combat readiness. For instance, pregnant women are not able to deploy on military missions with their units, causing further problems of morale, unit cohesion, and readiness. The aircraft carrier USSEisenhower is the first U.S. naval ship to try to integrate men and women. In the first six months of a recent deployment, 14 women on the Eisenhower became pregnantwhile on cruise, and were freed from their duties. The message sent to sailors is thatthere are different standards for men and women, standards that are based not on the capability of the individual to help the team win in combat, but on one's sex.
President Clinton has instituted policies that would put women in combat and homosexuals in the military. Because the President comes from an aggressively anti-military background, thesedecisions as Commander in Chief have been resisted by the American military establishment.
For example, on April 28, 1993, the Clinton Administration announced that the Department of Defense would open certain combat aviation positions to women. This change in policy affected all three services and made women available for duty in all aviation units, including air cavalry units in the Army. Women currently are barred only from direct participation in infantry, armor, and some artillery units.
Eliminate the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service. This committee was set up after the Korean War to advise the Chiefs of Staff on women's issues in the service. Over the years, however, it has become a vehicle for promoting the legislative agendas of militanthomosexual lobbies, feminist organizations, and other liberal pressure groups. In addition,similar organizations in the services should be focused on the challenge of maintaining equality and professionalism in the military while promoting the warrior ethos and military ethic amongall members of the service. They should not advance the radical agendas of groups who view the military as "just another job" and believe it needs to be restructured so its values and ethics are in line with those of contemporary society.
Q & A
Q. Why should the services ban women from combat and homosexuals from military service?
A. Advocates of women in combat and homosexuals in the military view military service as similar to any other job and assume that gender or sexual orientation are insignificant in themilitary environment. They are wrong. Combat is a team endeavor and the most demanding environment physically, mentally, and morally that one can endure. It is not a "job" but alife-and-death under taking. The primary criterion for inclusion must be the ability of the individual to enhance not to detract from the effectiveness of the unit. A military organization functions best when differences among individuals in a unit are minimized. That is why soldiers are required to look, act, dress, and train alike. It makes no sense to break down all of these differences only to inject the greatest difference of all individual sexual identity into a unit.
Professional military judgment and experience indicate that mixing known homosexuals with heterosexuals undermines cohesion and combat effectiveness. Common sense suggests that men and women distract each other even when trying not to do so. In combat, such distractions can be the difference between life and death. The purpose of the military is to build the most effectivefighting force to defeat an enemy as quickly, and with as few American casualties, as possible. Differences in sexual identity will weaken discipline and effectiveness, thus making it more difficult to prevail in combat.
Access to the military has never been based on what is "fair." Military service is a privilege and sometimes a duty, but never a right. Because victories in combat are achieved by cohesive units, the armed forces routinely sacrifice individual interests to ensure unit cohesion. Military service is legally restricted or denied to patriotic Americans who are too tall, too short, too fat, color-blind, flat-footed, or mentally or physically handicapped. This is no reflection on theinherent worth of these individuals; they simply do not meet the military's needs.12 For the same reason, women should be barred from combat and known homosexuals should be excluded entirely from military service.
Q. If a woman can perform the same job as a man, why can't women hold combat jobs? To limit women to support roles also limits their career opportunities for advancement in themilitary.
A. The fundamental purpose of military service is to defend America, not to advance careers. There can be only one standard for a warrior, and that is determined by what it takes to fight and win in combat. The great majority of women in the military, and even some men, cannot meet the physical standards required for service in combat units. Having different standards for men and women would ruin morale and unit cohesion. Putting women in combat also would raise a host of thorny questions, among them: How will the inevitable formation of male-female special relationships affect discipline and unit cohesion, which are essential to success in combat? How can a woman's privacy be respected adequately in combat conditions? What would be the effecton troops and the impact on public support for a combat mission if a number of females were taken prisoner and abused by their captors or exploited for psychological warfare or propaganda advantage? How would official and legal efforts to prevent sexual harassment of women prevent the rise of double standards and the inevitable breakdown of morale and unit cohesion?
A PLAN FOR PRESERVING AMERICA'S MILITARY STRENGTH
By Baker Spring
Senior Policy Analyst The Heritage Foundation Memo to President-elect Clinton #4 December 28, 1992
Baker Spring is Senior Defense Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation. He is a former adviser on defense and foreign policy issues to two U.S. Senators. Spring is an expert on defense policy and budgetissues as well as arms control, with special expertise on missile defense and chemical and biological warfare policy. A graduate of Washington and Lee University, Spring received his M.A. degree in national security studies from Georgetown University.
Baker Spring examines the threat of ballistic missiles from
ThirdWorld countries and U.S. national security issues. Previously,
he served as a defense and foreign policy expert in the offices of
two U.S. Senators. A graduate of Washington and Lee University, Mr.
Spring received his M.A. in national security studies from
Bill Clinton on December 12, 1991 gave a speech at Georgetown University and said, "I pledge to maintain military forces strong enough to deter and when necessary to defeat any threat to our essential interests."
A more ominous development is the use of the military for social experiments. Feminists and others are seeking to remove all restrictions on allowing women in combat, and gay rightsactivists are demanding an end to the Pentagon's well-founded ban on homosexuals in uniform. They argue that the purpose of the armed forces is to provide equal career opportunities to women and homosexuals, and that the armed forces need the best individuals they can get, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation.
Both arguments are wrong. The purpose of the armed forces is to defeat an enemy as quickly and with as few American casualties as possible. This means that the first priority of the Pentagonshould be an effective fighting force, and not some social program. Only when the differencesamong troops are minimized can they perform capably in combat. Individual sexual identitycauses unpredictable distractions and has unpredictable implications; it is too big a problem to allow in a military unit. When it comes to risking lives in combat, prudence should take precedence over ideology.