Writing in the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, Retired Navy Captain Kevin Eyer explains how sex integration has wasted the Navy’s resources and made it less combat-ready:
Casual observers—civilians and those who have never served in a fully integrated combat unit—seem convinced that men and women can, and are, serving together with a cheerful disregard for one another’s gender. This is ridiculous. Physical interaction is the natural and inevitable result of male/female contact and it always will be. Look at the sheer mass of evidence: Record numbers of commanding officers, executive officers, and command master chiefs are being sacked for personal misconduct. If they who have so very much to lose aren’t being good, how can we expect our sailors to behave?
The truth is that men and women are having sex with one another, regularly, and in blatant disregard of regulations. Cavorting with the foreign populace has been replaced by cavorting with shipmates. They are more or less discreet, depending upon the unit, but you would have to be blind not to see that it is happening, and happening a lot. Put healthy young men and women together in isolation and under stress for long periods of time and they will interact.
The Navy already knows that sexual activity among sailors is not beneficial. That is why they do not allow it. As Eyer puts it, “sexual misconduct and fraternization are clearly forbidden by Navy regulation, and this is based in the idea that intramural sex degrades the cohesion of combat units.”
To name a few of several problems that could arise from sex among service members we could note: interpersonal conflict because of sexual jealousy, the ubiquitous lack of sexual discipline spilling over into other areas, and pregnancy requiring women to be sent home early. As Eyer later puts it, we “might sensibly believe that endemic fraternization is not only contrary to good order and discipline, but fundamentally tears at unit cohesion.”
Eyer is even more clear about how the goal of more complete integration has a significant financial cost. Female officers have twice the attrition rate of male officers and so the heavy investment cost to train and mentor them has less long-term payoff.
Even if military readiness weren’t reduced we must ask about the spiritual toll of having a military like this. Is this a good way to discipline and inculcate our young people in the defense of our country? Is this the kind of character that will lead to future lives of honor and fidelity (or even present lives of courage and valor)? What will be the fruit of the habit of winking at rules about sexual behavior when those rules have been established for the good of the community?
If Eyer’s account is even close to accurate, our navy has made peace with sexual degradation. Before male-female integration, that degradation was lived out primarily off the ship. Now it has been brought on. Shouldn’t we be a little more concerned about the resulting spiritual, moral, physical, and psychological harm?