National Security

Marine Corps Will Mandate Unconscious Bias Training Ahead of Gender Integration

Female recruits at the Marine Corps Training Depot on Parris Island, S.C. / AP

The Marine Corps is mandating training for all service members before women are fully incorporated into combat roles in an effort to ensure a smooth transition.

Col. Anne Weinberg, deputy director of the Marine Corps Force Innovation Office, recently told journalists that the Marine Corps would send mobile training teams to installations across the country in May and June to give a two-day seminar to majors and lieutenant colonels, who will later offer the training to their subordinates, reported.

The seminars will cover "unconscious bias" and will also present new scenarios that Marines may encounter when women are fully incorporated into ground combat roles.

"You’re in the field, you only have this certain amount of space for billeting and you’ve got three women and six guys. How are you going to billet?" Weinberg stated. "Just some of these common sense things that these units probably haven’t had to deal with … that ground combat units haven’t had to deal with, but we’ve been dealing with in the rest of the Marine Corps for generations."

Brig. Gen. James Glynn, the Marine Corps’ director of public affairs, said that the purpose of the mobile training team will be to "begin to facilitate the cultural change."

A newly revealed survey conducted years before all combat roles were opened up to women showed that two out of every three male Marines and one of every three female Marines opposed letting female service members into all combat jobs.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered all services to open up combat roles to women in December despite a Marine Corps study that demonstrated that female service members perform much worse than males in combat operations. Carter rejected a request from the Marine commandant to keep some front-line combat jobs shuttered to women.

This is not the first instance of military leaders pushing to ease the cultural transition of the Marine Corps. At the beginning of the year, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus instructed the service commandant to drop the term "man" from position titles so that they are gender neutral.