Marine Corps Study on Women in Combat ‘Flawed’ and Incomplete 

Last month, the Marine Corps released a year-long study that tested women’s readiness to serve in combat units. At the time of the study’s release, NPRcalled the results “stark,” adding that the “all-male units outperformed mixed-gender units across the board.” That study came months before January 1 deadline to integrate the military by opening all jobs to women. The then Commandant of the Marine Corps, Joseph Dunford, reportedly weighed the study as he prepared “to make a crucial decision regarding the integration of female troops into closed combat roles.” According to reports, Dunford made his decision prior to being promoted to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September.

Now it looks that the study was not only deeply and fundamentally flawed, but that the Marines didn’t release the entire study.

The Guardian reports:

“[..] critics said the corps’ decision to release only a four-page summary of its study, which focused on negative aspects of women as marines while keeping the bulk of the study under wraps, was ‘hugely problematic.’

One of the report’s released conclusions found that: ‘The integration of females … will add a level of risk in performance/effectiveness and cost … The bottom line is that the physiological differences between males and females will likely always be evident to some extent.’

But other pages from the report, seen by the Guardian, indicate that women were not expected to pose problems for ground-combat units, so long as clear standards, diligent screening of candidates and good training and leadership were in place.”

Other unpublished parts of the study found that mixed-gender units had “superior problem-solving” and better discipline. The four pages released by the Marine Corps emphasized that men were better at long distance hikes with heavy equipment and their lower rates of injury.

The Marine Corps is believed to be the only branch of the military to ask for an exclusion to the gender integration mandate. The recommendations were made to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in early October. Carter will announce his decision before the January 1 deadline.

Round Two

Last month, the Marine Corps released a year-long study that tested women’s readiness to serve in combat units. At the time of the study’s release, NPR called the results “stark,” adding that the “all-male units outperformed mixed-gender units across the board.” That study came months before January 1 deadline to integrate the military by opening all jobs to women. The then Commandant of the Marine Corps, Joseph Dunford, reportedly weighed the study as he prepared “to make a crucial decision regarding the integration of female troops into closed combat roles.” According to reports, Dunford made his decision prior to being promoted to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September.

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OBAMA TO ADMIT 100,000 REFUGEES INTO USA…

The Obama administration is preparing to announce a plan to admit more refugees over the next two years, but at this point the numbers being proposed are too small to relieve the crisis streaming out of Syria.

Wednesday at the White House, the most senior national security officials will discuss raising the limit on the number of refugees from around the world allowed to enter the United States — from 70,000 this year to 85,000 next year and 100,000 in fiscal 2017, three administration officials told me. If members of the National Security Council Principals Committee agree on the plan, it will be sent to President Obama’s desk, and administration sources say he is likely to quickly approve it.

The plan has the strong support of White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, whose priorities often differ on the Syria issue. McDonough is focused on the fight against ISIS. Power wants to confront Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and do more to protect the civilians being killed by both.

The throngs of desperate migrants fleeing Syria and the images of children washing up on European shores have spurred the Obama administration into action, officials said.

The problem with the plan, no matter how quickly adopted, is how long it will take to have any effect. Migrants applying for refugee asylum in the United States now will not have their applications considered until at least 2017 because of a long backlog. And once an application begins to be considered, the asylum seekers can face a further 18 to 24 months before they are granted or denied asylum.

President Obama spoke about the refugee crisis Tuesday at the White House alongside the king of Spain. He said it was important for the U.S. to “take our share” of Syrian refugees and reinforced his pledge to allow 10,000 more into the country than previously planned in 2016.

“This is going to require cooperation with all the European countries and the United States and the international community in order to ensure that people are safe; that they are treated with shared humanity; and that we ultimately have to deal with the source of the problem, which is the ongoing crisis in Syria,” he said.

Last Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the policy process was underway to determine what exactly the asylum caps would be. He also acknowledged that whatever was decided, there was little chance that refugees fleeing Syria today would be able to enter the U.S. any time soon. The U.S. has accepted only 1,500 Syrian refugees since the war began.

“It’s not clear to me that anybody would be able to make their way through this process before the end of the next fiscal year if they’re just applying today,” he said.

Last week, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman convened a high-level meeting at the State Department to elicit other ideas for dealing with the mounting refugee crisis.

Human rights experts said that the United Nations has already referred over 16,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. for vetting, and the 10,000 increase would come almost exclusively from the backlog of Syrians who have already applied, not the people who are fleeing now.

“Becoming a U.S. refugee is not an immediate protection option,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director for Human Rights Watch. “These numbers are a good start, but they are woefully inadequate, unbelievably late, and not a substitute for a policy that would ensure better protection for Syrians.”

Part of the problem, she said, is that the U.S. government has not addressed the growing refugee crisis for several years and is just now rushing to action. In its last budget request, the administration requested $2.45 billion for migration and refugee assistance — $600 million less than what Congress appropriated the year before. The $2.45 billion request is up from seeking $2.05 billion the year before. If Congress passes a continuing resolution, the funding would remain flat.

Officials say that there is resistance inside the government to taking in more refugees. The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration are overstretched already and fear not having enough money and people to keep up with an asylum expansion.

The politics of increasing refugee caps, even marginally, are also a problem for the White House. Democrats are asking the administration to take in significantly higher numbers of refugees. Top Republican lawmakers and a slew of presidential candidates have said recently that taking in more Syrian refugees presents a national security risk.

“I take ISIS at its word when it said … we’ll use the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West. That concerns me,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul on ABC’s “This Week.” “We don’t have the systems in place on the ground in Syria to properly vet these individuals. We don’t know who they are.”

Not all Republicans are sounding the terrorism alarm. Senator Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations, told me he is working with Senator Patrick Leahy on an emergency appropriations package for addressing the Syrian refugee crisis.

“If this is not an emergency, I don’t know what would be. We should take our fair share,” Graham said. “We are the good guys and gals. We’re supposed to be open minded about this.”

The White House, Democrats and Republicans all seem to agree that the only real way to solve the refugee crisis is to solve the Syrian civil war, but there’s no political resolution in sight and the administration has no intention of pushing the military balance against the Assad regime. The Syrian refugee crisis is going to continue and get much worse before it gets better.

The concern is that the White House, after announcing this new plan, will not try to do more. By announcing a modest increase over the next two years, and pledging to vet applicants closely, the president may succeed at navigating the politics of asylum, but the Syrian refugee crisis will only grow.  BY JOSH ROGIN

Related: Netflix: “Narcos” The Official Trailer 

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<p>U.S. will help, a little.</p>
 Photographer: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images

BY JOSH ROGIN

The Obama administration is preparing to announce a plan to admit more refugees over the next two years, but at this point the numbers being proposed are too small to relieve the crisis streaming out of Syria.

Wednesday at the White House, the most senior national security officials will discuss raising the limit on the number of refugees from around the world allowed to enter the United States — from 70,000 this year to 85,000 next year and 100,000 in fiscal 2017, three administration officials told me. If members of the National Security Council Principals Committee agree on the plan, it will be sent to President Obama’s desk, and administration sources say he is likely to quickly approve it.

The plan has the strong support of White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, whose priorities often differ on…

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