Which Presidential Candidates Support Sound Military/Social Policies?

Written by Elaine Donnelly

It’s 11:00 PM – Do you know where your presidential candidate stands on women in land combat?  What about registering unsuspecting girls-next-door for Selective Service, without a vote of Congress?

And will the next president continue LGBT celebrations promoting transgenders in the military, while encouraging threats to religious liberty in the military?  The 2016 CMR Quadrennial Presidential Candidate Survey aims to find out where the candidates stand.

A fierce battle for votes is going on in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other early-voting states.  Leading presidential candidates have an opportunity to expand their support among military men and women, their families, and among civilians who are alarmed by the destructive consequences of social agendas and experiments that the Obama Administration has imposed on our military.

This is a replica of the 2016 Quadrennial Presidential Candidate Survey, that CMR sent to major presidential candidates on January 4.  The electronic version asks each presidential candidate to respond with a “Yes,” “No,” or “Other,” with space provided for optional comments.  The questions cover controversial issues, such as women in direct ground (infantry) combat, which exist at the intersection of national defense and social policy.

Responses as of January 31 are posted here, and updates will be added when more responses are received:

Preliminary Responses to 2016 CMR Quadrennial Presidential Candidate Survey

On January 28 Senator Ted Cruz provided “Yes” answers to all six questions.  These positive responses correspond with the 2012 Republican National Platform and CMR’s position on military/social issues.

Senator Cruz added an additional comment, indicating that the administration’s decision to disregard the Marine Corps’ request for exceptions to women in direct ground (infantry) combat should be reconsidered, and we cannot let political correctness compel the military to ever lower its standards.

Sen. Rick Santorum was first to provide solid answers to the CMR Presidential Candidate Survey, including comments indicating that he would call for a full review of all Obama policies and take appropriate actions to repair the damage.

Most of the Republican candidates, however, have yet to draw contrasts with their rivals and the current administration.  Their apparent reticence is difficult to understand, since the six questions on the CMR 2016 Quadrennial Presidential Candidate Survey should be easy to answer.  They include background information and references to planks and principles already in the 2012 Republican National Platform.

CMR encourages military personnel and families to share this information through social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and military blogs that serve all branches of the service.

Any individual can ask questions of a presidential candidate – in person or, in many cases, on the candidates’ campaign websites.  Now is the time to do so.

Concerns of Military Voters & Families

On December 3, 2015, when Defense Secretary Ashton Carter unilaterally announced that Army and Marine infantry and Special Operations Forces, including Navy SEALs, will be open to women.  In doing so, Carter ignored the best professional advice of General Joseph Dunford, the Marine Corps Commandant at the time, and did so without a plausible rationale or explanation.  (General Robert Neller is the current Commandant, and General Dunford is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

Carter also confirmed that minimally-qualified women will be assigned to combat arms units on the same involuntary basis as men.  Once a woman volunteers to serve her country, she will have no more choice of assignment than men do, but her burdens and risks will be proportionately greater.  Surveys have indicated that such mandates will hurt recruiting and retention, but facts don’t seem to matter to the Obama Administration.

Officials keep claiming that standards will not change.  This will not be possible, however, due to pressures to meet Pentagon-endorsed “gender diversity metrics,” another name for quotas.  Standards will have to be adjusted to “gender-neutral” levels that are lower than before.  For the past seven years, social agendas have been assigned greater importance than the needs of the military, on which national security depends.

What the Next Commander-in-Chief Can Do and Why It’s Important

Demoralized troops are counting on the election of a new president who will honestly address military/social issues that affect their lives every day.  They won’t get much help from former Sen. Hillary Clinton, Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, or other Democratic presidential candidates who are on record in support of liberal policies that are doing great harm to our military.

Issues such as this should be non-partisan, but it makes no sense for Republicans to give President Obama (and Hillary) a pass on matters of life and death in direct ground combat units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.

The issues in question represent two legs of President Ronald Reagan’s sturdy three-legged stool.  Electing a “Peg-Leg Conservative” – someone who lets feminists, academics, and egalitarian activists continue to run the Pentagon ˗ will not be enough to restore a strong national defense.

Nor is it enough for candidates to say, “I will follow military leaders’ advice.”  Unless they are directly asked, military leaders are no longer free to express their views on the potentially deadly consequences of ordering women with minimal capabilities into the combat arms.

The next Commander-in-Chief, therefore, must take the lead, starting with orders to all appointees and military officials to provide complete and candid information on what has been done to our military during eight years of social experimentation under the Obama Administration.

Current military leaders must follow orders, but the next president will have the power to change existing directives in the same way that Obama imposed them.  Leaders of the next administration should be prepared to restore sound priorities, putting the needs of the military first.

Marines Lives Matter

During his 2015 year-end news conference and final State of the Union speech, President Obama did not mention his most controversial “accomplishment” ˗ ordering women into infantry units on an involuntary basis.  Perhaps he knows deep down that these new policies will cause enormous problems – Republicans need to hold him accountable for lives needlessly lost and debilitating injuries that women should not have to suffer.

The Obama Aministration arrogantly dismissed the best professional advice of the Marine Corps, even though independent researchers produced abundant scientific evidence that gender-mixed ground combat fighting teams would detract from “survivability and lethality” in battle.  Findings resulting from extensive reaearch demand serious review.  For example:

  • As part of a multi-year research effort, the Marines established a Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force (GCEITF) to confirm the presumption that gender-mixed groups could perform as well as all-male teams.  Nine months of rigorous field tests proved the opposite.
  • The University of Pittsburgh gathered definitive data in scientifically-monitored task force exercises.  All-male units outperformed gender-mixed groups in 69% of tested events, and not a single female volunteer made it through the Marine Infantry Officer Course (IOC) at Quantico, VA.
  • The research also confirmed that even the strongest women are likely to suffer injuries at rates at least double those of men – six times as many among enlisted women who trained on the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) course.
  • Debilitating injuries and fatigue that affects marksmanship would be even worse in combat arms missions that require heavy lifting for long distances.  These are manifestations of physical differences between men and women, which are not going to change.

All of these factors and many more would degrade the speed, cohesion, morale, and effectiveness of America’s most elite fighting forces.

What Voters Who Support the Military Can Do

Grassroots voters, military communities, and conservative groups should join CMR in asking questions like those on the 2016 CMR Quadrennial Presidential Candidate Survey.  Opportunities abound at small campaign events, on candidates’ websites, and on social media discussions about the qualities needed in the next Commander-in-Chief.

Voters who care about national defense and our military men and women should actively join the search for a new President who will take these issues seriously.  National Security is a matter of paramount concern, and the questions CMR has asked reflect challenges that the next president will have to confront honestly.

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This article, which quotes the opinions of retired Army Maj. General Patrick Brady, a Medal of Honor recipient, speaks for many active-duty military personnel and their families:

These articles provide additional background and details on the current situation.

The Center for Military Readiness, founded in 1993, is an independent, non-partisan, educational organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  Elaine Donnelly served as a member of the congressionally-established 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, which studied all aspects of the women in combat issue for a full year. Several detailed articles analyzing the results of research on women in land combat done since 2012 are posted on the CMR website, www.cmrlink.org.