The public has been assured that won't happen as recently as this week, when Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the Pentagon was proceeding with President Barack Obama's plan to open the ground combat units to women.
"This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards," Carter said, "women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before ."
But apparently the Secretary of Defense hasn't heard about the so-called "Dempsey Rule" in his own Pentagon.
The so-called rule, named after the former Joint Chiefs chairman, forced the military branches to defend why women should be kept out of front-line units, even special-operations forces such as the Navy SEALS.
In fact, the Marine Corps sought an exemption from the Pentagon after a nine-month experiment compared all-male units with mixed-gender units.
The experiment found that all-male units performed better than mixed units in 93 of 134 tasks that simulate combat operations, such as hauling artillery shells and evacuating casualties.
Despite the worrisome findings, the USMC was denied the exemption by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. He claimed the Marines were biased and said the Marines should have picked better-qualified volunteers for the study.
OneNewsNow has reported on the Pentagon's plan in numerous stories throughout 2015. A story from May noted that the Marine Corps opened its Infantry Officer Course to women this year, and all 29 of them failed the course.
According to the Dempsey Rule, the Corps must explain why the course should remain too rigorous for women to complete it.
In that May story, national security expert Bob Maginnis of the Family Research Council said there's a reason Congress wants the armed forces to develop specially-made combat boots for women. That's because they sustain more injuries, in particular stress fractures in their pelvis, he said.
"And yet we have political appointees that are pushing the generals, and generals are demonstrating lack of nerve and backbone in regard to these issues," Maginnis, a retired U.S. Army colonel, warned six months ago.
In an October story on OneNewsNow, Donnelly warned the public that Mabus had ignored the Marine Corps study and hoped that Carter would read it and reconsider the coming plans.
Despite Carter's assurances of rigorous standards, Donnelly, too, is warning about the Dempsey Rule.
Any standard that's too high for women to reach "will be questioned," she tells OneNewsNow.
"Ultimately that standard will be changed," she predicts, "and everything will be done to make sure women get through the course."
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