Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recently sent a memo to Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller directing him to review the Marine Corp’s position titles to ensure their gender neutrality.
Mabus told Neller to drop the term “man” from position titles so that they become gender integrated by the deadline of April 1, according to the Marine Corps Times.
“As we achieve full integration of the force … this is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs,” Mabus wrote in the Jan. 1 memo. “Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from the titles and provide a report to me as soon as is practicable and no later than April 1, 2016.”
But Navy official who spoke anonymously the the Marine Corps Times claimed that Mabus does not want position titles like “infantryman” and “rifleman” to be altered but instead intends to change titles where “man” exists as a separate word.
“The idea is not to go in there and change the name when ‘man’ is incorporated as part of the term,” the official stated. “But when the word ‘man’ appears as a separate word … they want that name to be changed.”
This could include titles like “reconnaissance man” and “fire support man.”
Mabus penned another memo to Neller, also dated Jan. 1, that gave the Marine commandant 15 days to develop a “detailed plan” to make its entry-level boot camp and Officer Candidate School c0-ed. Mabus intends to implement the plan on April 1.
“The Department of the Navy’s implementation plan must include gender integration of Marine Corps enlisted recruit training and officer candidate school,” the Navy secretary wrote. “In this submission, identify where, if anywhere, this training is already integrated, where it is separate, and specific steps that you will take to fully integrate these trainings.”
Mabus has been persistent in his effort to fully integrate women into combat roles. In September, Mabus dismissed a Marine Corps study that found women performed significantly worse than men in combat operations, refusing to ask Defense Secretary Ash Carter for exemptions for the Marines or the Navy SEALs.
Carter in December ordered the military to open up all combat jobs to women despite arguments from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that certain ground combat jobs in the Marine Corps stay closed to female service members.
The Marine Corps was required to deliver its plan to integrate the service to Mabus and Carter by Jan. 1. The plan did not include details to integrate the entry-level training programs, as Mabus’ separate memo was sent to Neller after the deadline.