A congressman and former Marine officer is demanding Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus resign for "openly disrespect[ing]" the Marine Corps by dismissing the service’s study on women in combat.
Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) penned a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday during which he cited "deep" concern regarding Mabus’ ability to lead the Marine Corps.
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"Recent statements by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus—openly criticizing the Marine Corps and its study on the impact of gender integration—have created a deep sense of concern for the ability of the Navy Secretary to be objective and to continue leading the Marine Corps," Hunter, an Iraq War veteran and member of House Armed Services Committee, wrote, according to the Navy Times.
Hunter had previously slammed Mabus for his comments on the gender study, labeling him a "political hack who cares more about doing the White House’s bidding than the combat effectiveness of the Marine Corps" in a statement earlier this week.
Mabus has been criticized by military and political leaders for dismissing the participants and organizers of the Marine Corps study as biased and questioning its findings.
The study indicated that female service members perform worse in combat operations than their male counterparts. Despite its conclusions, Mabus has said that he will not recommend that certain combat roles remain closed to women.
However, anonymous U.S. officials say that the Marine Corps is planning to recommend that several front-line combat jobs remain closed to women, which will likely exacerbate tension between Mabus and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Marine Corps commandant.
In his letter, Hunter accused Mabus of insulting the Marines.
"He has openly disrespected the Marine Corps as an institution, and he insulted the competency of Marines by disregarding their professional judgment, their combat experience and their quality of leadership," the Republican lawmaker wrote. "Such a significant loss of respect is detrimental to the ability of the Navy Secretary to effectively lead the men and women of the Marine Corps and ensure the service maintains the highest level of combat effectiveness."