A Republican congressman and former Marine officer renewed calls for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to resign Tuesday, citing his attempt to forcibly gender-integrate the Marine Corps’ entry-level boot camp and officer candidate school.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) penned a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter demanding assurances that the Marine Corps would not be forced to integrate its recruit training. At the start of January, Mabus gave the Marine commandant 15 days to develop a "detailed plan" to make the training co-ed without consulting or coordinating with service leaders.
However, a report in the Marine Corps Times last week indicated that male and female Marine recruits would likely keep training separately in boot camp, though the service would look for opportunities for the recruits to train side-by-side.
"I respectfully ask that you provide assurance that recruit training and Officer Candidate School will continue operating as they have, without any such disruption to the reliable and effective organization and methods for developing and training Marines," Hunter wrote Tuesday.
He went on to describe Mabus’ gender integration demand as further evidence that the Navy secretary should be removed from his post.
"The fact that the Navy secretary imposed a requirement to integrate recruit training, which until January, 1, 2016, was not even discussed or considered, and then provided only 15 days to develop a plan to do so, continues to undermine the ability of the Navy secretary to lead the men and women of the Marine Corps and earn their respect," Hunter wrote.
"Unfortunately, the only was this relationship can be repaired, I believe, is through the leadership of a new Navy secretary–specifically one who does not regularly make a point to undercut the Marine Corps, distract it from its mission and insult its leaders."
Hunter previously called for Mabus to resign last September after the Navy secretary dismissed a Marine Corps study that found women performed much worse than men in combat operations. Despite the findings, Mabus insisted he would not ask Carter for exemptions for the Marines or the Navy SEALs when it came to opening up combat roles to women.
A consistent critic of Mabus, Hunter recently accused the Navy secretary of "social meddling" that will get Marines killed and described him as "a greater threat to the Marine Corps than ISIS."
Hunter suggested in the letter Tuesday that Carter consider any of the 20,668 Marine Corps officers currently serving on active duty as a possible replacement for Mabus.