Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Mattis Can’t Say If Having Women In The Infantry Will Work Or Not
“Clearly, the jury is out” on whether having women serve in Marine Corps and Army infantry units makes the U.S. military more combat effective, Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Tuesday.
- Mattis sounded decidedly unenthusiastic during a visit to the Virginia Military Institute when a cadet asked him about integrating women into combat arms jobs. He said the services are looking into whether it is “a strength or a weakness” to have women serving in units that engage in close combat.
- “The military has got to have officers who look at this with a great deal of objectivity and at the same time remember our natural inclination to have this open to all,” Mattis said. “But we cannot do something that militarily doesn’t make sense.”
- “I can’t give you a good answer right now,” he added. “I’m open to it. I’ll be working with the chief of staff of the Army and the others to sort it out.”
- So far, too few women have joined infantry units to determine their effectiveness in combat, Mattis said, repeating what he told Task & Purpose on his trip to India earlier this month.
- “This a policy that I inherited, and so far the cadre is so small we have no data on it,” Mattis said. “We’re hoping to get data soon. There are a few stalwart young ladies that are charging into this, but they are too few – right now, it’s not even dozens. It’s that few.”
About 150 female soldiers and 27 female Marines are currently serving in infantry military occupational specialties, officials told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
- Mattis also stressed that infantry units are “the most primitive, I would say evil environment” in the military because they consist of young Marines and soldiers who are cocky, rambunctious, and “necessarily macho.”
- “I was never under any illusions about what level of respect my Marines would have for me if I couldn’t run with the fastest of them and look like it didn’t bother me; if I couldn’t do as many pull-ups as the strongest of them,” Mattis said. “It was the unfairness of the infantry.”
NASA is reportedly investigating one of its astronauts in a case that appears to involve the first allegations of criminal activity from space.
Hackers could have breached US bioterrorism defenses for years, records show. We'll never know if they did
The Department of Homeland Security stored sensitive data from the nation's bioterrorism defense program on an insecure website where it was vulnerable to attacks by hackers for over a decade, according to government documents reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.
The data included the locations of at least some BioWatch air samplers, which are installed at subway stations and other public locations in more than 30 U.S. cities and are designed to detect anthrax or other airborne biological weapons, Homeland Security officials confirmed. It also included the results of tests for possible pathogens, a list of biological agents that could be detected and response plans that would be put in place in the event of an attack.
The information — housed on a dot-org website run by a private contractor — has been moved behind a secure federal government firewall, and the website was shut down in May. But Homeland Security officials acknowledge they do not know whether hackers ever gained access to the data.
The State Department doesn't really care if its human rights training for partner security forces is working or not
By law, the United States is required to promote "human rights and fundamental freedoms" when it trains foreign militaries. So it makes sense that if the U.S. government is going to spend billions on foreign security assistance every year, it should probably systematically track whether that human rights training is actually having an impact or not, right?
Apparently not. According to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office, both the Departments of Defense and State "have not assessed the effectiveness of human rights training for foreign security forces" — and while the Pentagon agreed to establish a process to do so, State simply can't be bothered.
A Kansas VA hospital police supervisor reported 'dangerous' deficiencies among his officers. Now he says he faced retaliation
The Kansas City VA Medical Center is still dealing with the fallout of a violent confrontation last year between one of its police officers and a patient, with the Kansas City Police Department launching a homicide investigation.
And now Topeka's VA hospital is dealing with an internal dispute between leaders of its Veterans Affairs police force that raises new questions about how the agency nationwide treats patients — and the officers who report misconduct by colleagues.
A New Mexico woman was charged Friday in the robbery and homicide of a Marine Corps veteran from Belen late last month after allegedly watching her boyfriend kill the man and torch his car to hide evidence.