What's a Boiled Frog, Anyway??

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For those of you who want a little political theory with your Saturday coffee, be reassured, we’ll get around to path dependence at the end of this post, after suffering through my analogy. But first, a little frog fun.

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Recoding the Forward Support Companies

You may wonder, with good reason, why I keep talking about “boiled frogs” . . .You know the old aphorism: if you want to boil a frog, turn the heat up slowly. If the water gets too hot, too fast, the frog will jump out. But if it gets hot slowly, he’ll get cooked.

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I’m arguing that this is precisely what the military is doing with women in combat — turning the heat up slowly, so that no one notices. If they came right out and announced, “Hey, we’re going to start putting women in combat” it wouldn’t go over real well. Not to mention being against the President’s explicit policy, which he recently reiterated in January, of maintaining the ban on women in combat.

Although he agrees with me on women in combat, Donald Sensing, over at One Hand Clapping, doesn’t care for my analogy. He says that I:

seem to assign nefarious motives to the Army’s senior leaders; they are apparently scurrilous minions of the feminist left who have a master plan eventually to infiltrate women into every combat job. In the meantime they have to desensitize moms and dads and other Americans to the idea of women killed, wounded and maimed in battle.

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A “master plan” of infiltration. . . Yes, yes, that’s it exactly! (Plus, he didn’t split his infinitives. A good man. Better to be grammatically correct than politically correct.) The funny thing is that when I was at the Pentagon on Thursday, one of the first things that General Schwartz, (Director, Joint Staff, three stars) said was that nothing “nefarious” was going on — Yes! Yes! “nefarious” the same word! A conspiracy! I think they are on your page, Donald.

. . . “nefarious??” The general doth protest too much, methinks.

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Here’s the Army’s plan — I’d like to hear, particularly from the MilBloggers, if you think it’s nefarious, or not. Listen, even if it’s not nefarious, I still think it’s a stupid plan that “lacks attention to detail.”

This is a dicey issue: If anyone active duty wants to weigh in anonymously, I’d love to hear from you and will protect your identity. (Email link on right sidebar.)


The plan centers on Forward Support Companies. These units previously have been gender coded “P-1” — which means all-male. They now include about 10% gender coded “P-2” for women.

(The Army refuses, so far, to release the updated MTOE’s — “modified table of organization and equipment” which would conclusively verify the previous coding reported to us; we have confirmed the current change to P2 coding.) The FSC’s provide essential support to combat battalions in the field. Beans and bullets. The logistical stuff on which you win or lose.

Because of their support mission, Forward Support Companies are collocated with combat troops. Having women collocated with combat troops violates the Department of Defense’s own regulations. Here’s the language (see CMR) from AR 600-13, as affirmed by DoD, 1994 — female soldiers are prohibited from assignment to:

. . .battalion size or small units which are assigned a primary mission to engage in direct ground combat or which collocate routinely with units assigned a direct ground combat mission.

When Elaine Donnelly, President of Center for Military Readiness, and I met with Secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey and Vice Chief of the Army, General Cody, back in February, we discussed this at great length. Harvey and Cody both insisted that FSC’s are not “collocated” with combat troops. They continue to insist on this point.

I pressed Secretary Harvey to explain this to me. He replied that the FSC’s and the combat battalion are “attached” at the base camp and not collocated. Then, when the troops move to the sound of the cannons, they will take the P-1’s with them, leaving the P-2’s safely behind at the base camp. According to this version of reality, “collocation” occurs when the portion of the FSC that is all-male crosses over a line into “combat” that is, theoretically, not at the base camp.

It was unclear exactly what would happen to the women. Elaine told Secretary Harvey that the women weren’t going to stand for being left behind.

He replied, “They’ll have to.”

We asked this question, again, of General Schwartz on Thursday — How will you evacuate the women?

And Schwartz replied: “I can’t address that.”

If they won’t plan for it; they won’t do it. (They couldn’t do it.)

So that’s how they contend that they are obeying the law. (Law requires the military to notify Congress if they intend to put women in land combat.)

One does have to wonder what happened to “train as you fight, and fight as you train.” How are these combat troops supposed to fight without 10% of their support company?

They can’t be serious about this. I’ve not described this plan to one person, outside the Pentagon, who hasn’t laughed. And so we’re on a path inexorably drawing us deeper into women in land combat. Political theory talks about “path dependence” — once headed down a particular path, it’s difficult to turn around and get on another one.

The generals know this. The NCO’s know this. That’s why I believe this plan to push the boundaries of women in combat is intentional.

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Frog. Cooked. Issue One Each.

Thanks to Greyhawk, Mudville Gazette Open Post.

For more documentation, see www.cmrlink.org

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2 Responses

  1. Mary Ann Vaughan says:

    About time they started opening things up. How long do women have to fight and die before they will finally be allowed to choose the job they are doing when they are killed? We are shot at, wounded and killed but we aren’t allowed on the theoretical “front lines”, we can only die in the background. Right now our country needs all the soldiers who are able and willing to fight. Get rid of the outdated rules restricting women.

  2. Jack Yoest says:

    Women in Combat: Culturally Sensitive

    KARMAH, Iraq — Lance Cpl. Erin Libby doesn’t want to be treated the same as her male Marine Corps counterparts. But she does want to be treated as an equal — even in combat. In a way, she got her…

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