Mike Kueber's Blog

January 29, 2013

Women in combat

Filed under: Culture,Military — Mike Kueber @ 1:58 pm
Tags: , ,

Last week, the Obama administration’s Leon Panetta announced that women would be allowed in front-line combat units – infantry, armor, Special Forces.  I heard an excellent debate of the issue on a Sunday talk show between a female captain who has flown attack helicopters and a male general who opposes women in combat. 

The general’s principal point was that women, on average, are significantly less physically able than men, and the captain’s response was that, instead of thinking of averages, it is more reasonable to think of the physical ability of men and women as on separate, but overlapping bell curves – e.g., G.I. Jane.      

The general’s secondary point was that front-line unit cohesion would be weakened by mixing the sexes, to which the captain countered that the sexes would learn to accommodate each other.  They ultimately agree to disagree about this social engineering, with the captain saying that women should be subjected to the draft, and the general saying that in his world his daughters would not be subjected to the draft.

The San Antonio Express-News published an editorial today in which it came down on the side of the captain. 

I agree with the captain and the Express-News.  My only concern is whether the overlap of bells curves is so slight that this social experiment is not worth it.  The overlap of bell curves does not enable women to play high-level football, basketball, or baseball, but I have heard that they could play high-level tennis.    

Perhaps the military should have studied whether there are significant numbers of women who can compete with the physicality of male soldiers on the low-end of their bell curve.  My guess is there are.


1 Comment »

  1. mike, combat will change in the next 10 to 15 years. the drones are flown from New Mexico. it won’t be long before the drones are on the ground and in the sea (if not already). women have better eye-hand-coordination and will be better at running the drones. but, you need to start expanding women in the military now to have the needed force in 10 to 15 years…


    Comment by q — February 10, 2013 @ 3:14 am | Reply

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