Mattis Defends His Vague Assessment Of Women In Infantry Roles

Bullet Points

Barely a day after declaring during a visit to the Virginia Military Institute that "the jury is out” on the effectiveness of women in infantry roles in the Army and Marine Corps, Defense Secretary James Mattis begrudgingly sought to clarify his statement on the matter and walk back his perceived dismissal of female combat troops.


  • When informed on Wednesday that his statement had indicated a lack of support for women serving in infantry roles, Mattis told reporters that female VMI cadets had interpreted his statement in "just the opposite" manner. "That the door was open," he said. "We don't have enough females in the infantry to make some kind of quantitative assessment."

  • Mattis had previously stated on that the women currently serving in infantry roles across the Army and Marine Corps — 177 in total, according to DoD officials — are "too few .... right now" to convincingly measure of combat effectiveness. “This a policy that I inherited, and so far the cadre is so small we have no data on it,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
  • Indeed, Mattis' comments reflect what he previously told T&P;'s Jeff Schogol during his trip to India earlier in September. “It’s probably too early to talk about progress because the numbers are so small,” he said at the time. “I think you need a larger cohort before you can evaluate something like that. Can’t make broad assessments based on very, very few numbers.”
  • So why the confusion? Blame the Pentagon press corps, Mattis said. After all, the female VMI cadets took his comments "just the opposite from how it was written about by the Pentagon press — by one number of Pentagon press."

WATCH NEXT:

DoD photo/Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

President Donald Trump may have loved to call former Secretary of Defense James Mattis by his much-loathed "Mad Dog" nickname, but his own transition team had concerns regarding the former Marine general's infamous battlefield missives and his lackluster handling of alleged war crimes committed by U.S. service members, according to leaked vetting documents.

Read More Show Less

Beloved readers: It's been a rough week inside the Five-Sided Fun House as it looked like the United States and Iran were on a collision course until President Donald Trump aborted planned air and missile strikes at the eleventh hour.

As your beleaguered friend and narrator writes this, the Pentagon has not scheduled any briefings about how close the U.S. military was to attacking Iran, or even if those strikes have been called off or are on hold.

It would be nice to know whether we are at war or not. One would think the headquarters of the U.S. military would be a good place to find out. But the Trump administration has one spokesman: the president himself. His tweets have replaced Pentagon's briefings as the primary source for military news.

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Petty Officer William Selby)

Former Army Gen. David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who resigned in disgrace as CIA director amid revelations of an extramarital affairs, was passed over by then-president-elect Donald Trump's transition team because of his criticism of torture, according to leaked vetting documents.

Read More Show Less