Last month, three women became the first of their sex to graduate from the Marine Corps’ famously grueling Advanced Infantry Training Course.The Marine Corps was asking a simple question by running small groups through these courses in experimental test batches, two to five women at a
time: Can the female body withstand the rigors of infantry training? The answer, these women showed, is that it can, as discussed i a recent article in The Atlantic
“So far much of the debate surrounding integration has focused on the physical capabilities of women, as if this were the singular issue. Admittedly the strain of infantry training, or even combat, is relatively easier for a 6-foot tall, 180-pound man, but there are women fit enough to survive these punishing courses. As for combat, well, if we’ve proved anything over the last decade of war, it’s that women can sustain its rigors.
So if the barrier to integrating women into the infantry isn’t a physical one then what is it?
“It’s cultural. And that’s why the infantry may not be the best place to start in military gender integration. Instead, as counterintuitive as it might sound, the military should begin with its Special Operations Forces: elite units such as the Green Berets and SEALs. Although not the obvious move, starting here would likely make for a smoother transition over all.
New studies show that transgender civilians enlist in the military at twice the rate of the non-transgender population, but that transgender veterans are 20 times more likely to commit suicide. These findings are discussed in today’s Mother Jones, excerpted below:
“Transgender soldiers and sailors largely fly under the radar, but they are hardly uncommon.In a recent surveyby the Harvard Kennedy School’s LGBTQ Policy Journal, 20 percent of transgender people contacted said they had served in the military—that’s twice the rate of the general population. A 2011 study estimates there are nearly 700,000 transgender individuals (about three people per thousand) living in the United States. Meanwhile, theAmerican Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is scheduled to release a report today, which drawsfrom Department of Veterans Affairs data, showing that the number of veterans accepting treatment for transgender health issues has doubled in the past decade. (While viewing the full report requires a subscription, an abstract should be available online as of today.)
“These two new peer-reviewed studies indicate that, beyond being discriminatory, the military’s current policy starves the armed services of some of their likeliest recruits, and puts transgender people who serve at greater risk of discrimination, homelessness, and assault than those who don’t. Continue reading “Transgender soldiers”
Released last month, the book Warrior Princess is the transition story of a Navy SEAL, Team-6, veteran of 13 deployments – from Chris Beck to Kristen Beck.
The book received national attention over the July 4th weekend with an interview with Beck by Anderson Cooper on CNN. A thoughtful review appears in the Daily Beast, as excerpted briefly below:
“Washington-area psychologist Anne Speckhard, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, was running late for her appointment with Chris Beck one night in early February when she arrived at Freddie’s in Crystal City, Va.
“I didn’t realize Freddie’s was a gay bar, and I was late so I was looking around for him frantically among all these men,” Speckhard tells me. “Then I spotted a quite nice-looking woman at the bar—very elegant, not a drag-queen kind of thing. She wore a padded bra, and I would say nice clothes with good labels probably bought at a discount store, and a really good wig—brown hair.” Continue reading “Warrior Princess”
Aircraft carrier crews are likely to get rather pungent as they perform the hard tasks of assembling, loading and hauling the massive weaponry that gives the U.S. Navy its edge, says todays edition of DangerRoom.
“To make their lives easier, the Navy’s exploring the idea of developing a ‘robotic semiautonomous swarm on a ship’that can actually smell its way to weapons prep, thanks to an artificial pheromone. Conceptually, the project is somewhat similar to existing warehouse robots, which use optical navigation systems that recognize markings on floors and walls. Except this research concept is a bit smellier. The Navy wants its defense-industry partners to “identify [a] chemical capable of meeting environmental and health requirements” which can act as a pheromone. Continue reading “Navy odor-sniffing robots”