Works for the IDF
In fact, the Israeli experience, contrary to the assertions of my correspondents, constitutes the closest thing we have to a laboratory experiment for testing the claims of those who would expand the role of women as the Army is trying to do.
Contrary to common contention, Israel does not currently allow women in combat–they’ve been banned since 1948. But they have a history of integrated fighting there that we can learn from.
During the period of the British Mandate for Palestine, Palestinian Jews formed an elite, semi-clandestine, volunteer youth organization called Palmach. During Israel’s War of Independence, Palmach served as the core of Haganah, the forerunner of the Israel Defense Force (IDF).
The ideology of Palmach was egalitarian socialism, and according to the Israeli military historian Marin Van Creveld, the organization “was sexually integrated to an extent rarely attained by any armed force before or since.” Van Creveld writes that before Israeli independence, Palmach women accompanied men on missions, especially “undercover missions that involved obtaining intelligence, transmitting messages, smuggling arms, and the like.”
Despite Palmach’s ideological commitment to radical equality for women, the practical experience of the 1948 war–which involved coordinated, combined arms-offensive actions–convinced the leaders of Israel and the IDF that the dangers of women in combat outweighed the benefits–including commitment to an abstract concept of equality between the sexes. For one thing, according to the late Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, women reduced the combat effectiveness of Haganah units because men took steps to protect them out of “fear of what the Arabs would do to [the] women if they captured them.”
The Israeli case demonstrates that, at least in the past, when confronted by great danger, reasonable people can sacrifice ideology to the dictates of nature. In other words, nature trumps attempts at human engineering.
I stand corrected...
As a non-military person, I'm not sure where I fall on this issue. I support women's rights to enlist and serve. It does sound like something that would be mandatory for officer's training, and if women are allowed to be officers, they should also be trained the same way as male officers in the same program are trained.
Although I think women are as able to serve in combat roles as men are, men don't seem to be ready for that at this point.
This course provides advanced infantry skill training for officers in preparation for duties as commanders of rifle, weapons, anti-armor, heavy machine gun or mortar platoons within the infantry battalion.
The course also prepares the officer students to become commanders of reconnaissance platoons and provides employment considerations for light armored reconnaissance platoons.
The course is designed to develop leaders who have the will and knowledge to take decisive action in an uncertain environment, within their commander's intent. This course seeks to deliver to the Fleet Marine Forces lieutenants who are technically and tactically proficient and who are confident in their abilities as leaders and decision-makers in both peacetime and war.
The Infantry Officer Course was established in 1977. It evolved from a two-week course with emphasis solely on weapons systems to its present 10-week course.
IOC includes more than 800 hours of academic training and education in 48 training days. Of this, more than half the training days are spent in a field environment. This averages out to more than 16 hours of training and education per training day.
Once trained in their job specialty, the lieutenants move on to their first unit, where they will begin service in the Fleet Marine Force. For some, this will take them on deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan or other trouble spots around the world.