The US Marine Corps is under orders to integrate both male and female recruits at boot camp training and must alter job titles to adopt a more gender-neutral tone by April.
The mandate, announced in a January 1st memo from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, asks the department to submit a “detailed implementation plan that addresses the gender integration of officer and enlisted basic training.”
“In this submission, identify specifically 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 wrote.
Additionally, Marine Corps officials have been asked to review job titles and eliminate the word “man” wherever possible.
“As we achieve full integration of the force, mirroring even more closely the Nation we defend, this is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs [Military Occupational Specialty],” Mabus wrote.
“Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from their titles and provide a report to me as soon as practicable and no later than April 1, 2016, so that it is included in the rest of the integration efforts.”
An anonymous Navy official told the Marine Corps Times the integration will not affect iconic titles like “infantryman,” “rifleman” or “midshipman,” “… But when the word ‘man’ appears as a separate word … they want that name to be changed.”
Female marine recruits have traditionally undergone segregated training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina. Officials reportedly enjoyed the segregation as it allowed recruits to mentor with same sex role models.
Following Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s announcement opening all combat roles to women last year, a study conducted by the Marine Corps found that all-male combat units performed better than mixed groups.
Secretary Mabus later claimed the study was biased and based on the researchers’ pre-conceived negative attitudes towards women.
In another study last month, the Marine Corps found that very few nations around the world opened combat roles to women.