Study: All-male Marine units outperform squads with women

All-male ground combat units in the Marines were faster, more lethal and less injured than units with mixed genders, according to a Marine Corps study that looked at integrating women into all service jobs.

“All male squads, teams and crews demonstrated higher performance levels on 69 percent of tasks evaluated (93 of 134) as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews,” according a summary of the report released Thursday.

The military faces a January deadline from the Pentagon to open all combat jobs to women, but the services can ask for exceptions to the order. None so far has indicated it plans to do so.

Other steps to open more military jobs to women include officially allowing women into the grueling Army Ranger school. Last month, two women graduated from the program after the Army opened the course on a trial basis.

Right now in the Marines, women are eligible to serve in 315 of the 337 primary specialties, according to the summary.

“Female Marines have performed superbly in the combat environments of Iraq and Afghanistan and are fully part of the fabric of combat-hardened Marine Corps after the longest period of continuous combat operations in the Corps’ history,” according to the summary.

For the study, the Marines formed a task force specifically to conduct research.

The study found all-male squads were faster in each tactical movement than those with both genders, according to the summary. The differences were greater when they were carrying heavy weapons and ammunition.

Also, all-male rifle groups had better accuracy than integrated squads, according to the summary. And women had more injuries such as stress fractures.