Today’s edition of the confirmation hearings circus will feature an appearance by the man who may have been one of the most popular cabinet picks that the President Elect has made. (Well… in conservative circles, anyway.) General James “Mad Dog” Mattis will answer questions from anyone with the solid brass cojones to challenge him as he prepares to take his place as Secretary of Defense. I’m sure there will be a number of topics covered, but as The Hill reports, liberals are probably going to be raising questions about the outgoing administration’s mandates regarding women in combat and LGBT issues with an eye toward how Mattis will be dealing with them.
Retired Gen. James Mattis’s stance on women in combat and LGBT troops will be thrust in the spotlight Thursday when he faces senators for his confirmation hearing to be the next secretary of Defense.
The man whom Mattis is in line to replace, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, opened all combat jobs to women with no exceptions in late 2015 over the objection of the Marine Corps. This summer, Carter also lifted the ban on transgender troops serving openly.
Supporters of the changes have been worried since Election Day that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will roll them back.
Ash Carter’s tenure was in some ways defined by this issue. Back in 2015 he pulled the trigger on ordering all combat roles to be open to women on only thirty days notice. This led to considerable consternation in the military community and it wasn’t just coming from Mattis. When John Kelly retired, he expressed his dismay over the lowering of standards required in the Marines if they wanted to fill the combat ranks with female fighters. Everyone will be watching to see what Mad Dog has to say on the subject.
I highly doubt we’re going to be seeing any sort of change in stance over openly gay members of the military serving and as far as I’m concerned there’s no need to go there. Any men who meet the basic physical and psychological requirements for combat and are willing to serve their country should be able to do so. When it comes to sending women into actual combat roles my view is already well known. It’s not just a question of meeting physical requirements… I simply don’t approve of sending American women to fight and die – or even worse, be captured – on the front lines. These concerns are only reinforced when considering the fact that we’re currently fighting a monstrous enemy which brags about their history of selling “enemy” women into service as sex slaves.
I get that my position paints me as something of a dinosaur and I’m probably on the wrong side of history here. So be it. But there are additional concerns to be addressed which deal with the tiny number of female enlistees who can actually pass the same benchmarks for combat troops which we’ve traditionally required. I would expect Mattis to be asked about this and to have some answers ready. If I had to guess, he might come down on the side of leaving those billets open to women, but not approving of any minimum quota of females because it’s so hard to find them.