Dozens of U.S. Marines are publicly siding with a Republican congressman’s assertion that plans to integrate women into combat roles pose more danger to the U.S. military than terrorism. Representative Duncan Hunter of California, a veteran Marine officer who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said in a recent interview that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ backing of integration of women into armed roles made him “a greater threat to the Marine Corps than ISIS.” Current and former Marines have rallied to Hunter’s cause, and the debate spilled into social media recently when several Marines posting to a Marine Corps Times Facebook thread echoed Hunter’s sentiments — one user went so far as to say that “most marines active/former hate Mabus more than the Taliban.”
Many Marines believe that the military will lower physical requirements necessary to join previously men-only teams, despite assurances from the administration that physical requirements for units will remain the same. Members of Special Operations Forces have more abstract concerns about serving alongside women as well, as one survey revealed that a number of these elite troops are afraid of women’s periods. Mabus has told the Marines that he wants a plan for integration of women by January 15th, with integration itself beginning no later than April 1st.
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