Mixed-Sex Training

June 30, 1998

Sex scandals at the Aberdeen, Maryland proving ground and at the Navy's Great Lakes boot camp merely underscore the problem with mixed-sex military training. Yet Congress and the Administration still refuse to correct an obvious problem.

Earlier this month the Secretary of Defense rejected the advice of his own handpicked panel who recommended the end to mixed-sex training. This commission voted unanimously to end co-ed living conditions and basic training for smaller platoon-sized units.

At issue are questions like, Should young men and women sleep side by side at boot camp? Should male drill instructors have access to young women after hours? Should young women be allowed to perform sexual favors for their superiors in order to gain advancement?

Although everyone knows the answers to these questions, seemingly no one in the military or in the administration wants to be politically incorrect by answering these questions with the simple word, no. And only a few in Congress want to address the issue.

Young men and women sleep in close proximity not only in basic training dormitories, but in tents, barracks, and ships. The situation invites opportunities for what the military calls "fraternization." Pregnancies, sexual assaults, disruptive jealousies, and double standards are the obvious results from a policy that puts men and women together in intimate situations.

Congress is considering legislation that would require boot camps to separate men and women in their sleeping areas after hours. That's a positive first step, but we need to do more. Congress should separate men and women throughout basic training, not just at night.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International