Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) excoriated the secretary of the Navy on Monday for ordering that the Marines combine boot camp for men and women.
“Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus continues to make a compelling case for the Marine Corps to be autonomous military department with its own civilian leadership,” Hunter wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday.
Hunter, who was an active duty Marine from 2002 to 2005 and served three combat tours, sits on the House Armed Services Committee.
In a Jan. 1 memo, Mabus ordered the Marines’ commandant Gen. Robert Neller to submit a plan by Jan. 15 to integrate enlisted basic training and officer candidate school. In a separate memo, he also ordered that gendered job titles be changed to be gender neutral.
The orders came after Carter announced in December that all combat jobs in the U.S. military would be open to women, with no exceptions. The Marines had asked to keep some jobs closed.
Implementation plans from each service were due to Carter by Jan. 1.
“Among the critical elements that will make this policy a success is a fully integrated training program,” Mabus wrote in the memo. “The Marine Corps’ current implementation plan addresses the integration of gender neutral standards during Marine Corps enlisted recruit training and officer candidate school (OCS), but does not fully address a plan to implement gender integration of enlisted recruit training and OCS.”
In his letter, Hunter said Mabus’s orders “surprised” the leadership of the Marines.
“The fact that the Marine Corps was not even consulted on such a change is disgraceful and disrespectful, and the action of Secretary Mabus, especially knowing he has never served in the Marine Corps, amount to the desecration of holy ground — which to any Marine is recruit training,” wrote Hunter, who served in the Marines.
Hunter previously called for Mabus’s to resign after he dismissed a Marines study on gender integration as flawed. The study found that units with just men outperformed those with both genders.
In Monday’s letter, Hunter reaffirmed his support for the study.
“The Marine Corps’ position, as reaffirmed by its previous study, is supported by not just decades of scientific and individual consensus, but remains consistent with everything we have come to know and understand about warfare,” he wrote.
“None of Secretary Mabus’ social meddling with strengthen the Marine Corps’ ability to close with and destroy the enemy with fire and close combat — instead it will put lives at risk.”