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Implications of Integrating Women into USMC Infantry

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Technical Report

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RAND National Defense Research Institute Santa Monica United States

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On January 24, 2013, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced the rescission of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule DGCDAR. The effect of this decision will be consideration of opening previously closed occupationsincluding those within the United States Marine Corps USMC infantryto women who can meet validated occupation-specific, gender-neutral standards of performance. In response to this change in policy, the Marine Corps Combat Development Command asked RAND to help identify issues that may arise if women are integrated into the Marine Corps infantry, describe efforts that have been successful in addressing these issues in the past, and estimate the potential costs associated with integration. To do so, RAND researchers undertook four tasks review of research on integration of women into ground combat and other physically demanding occupations, interviews with representatives of organizations in physically demanding occupations, estimate of the costs of potential initiatives to promote successful gender integration, and development of an approach for monitoring implementation of gender integration of the infantry. This brief summarizes the researchers findings on cohesion, critical mass, lessons learned from the experiences of foreign militaries as well as from U.S. fire and police departments, costs associated with integration, development of a monitoring framework, and cross-cutting implications and recommendations.

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