Vote Due on Separate Basic Training for Males, Females
Fritz, John, The Florida Times Union
Despite the efforts of Rep. Tillie Fowler, R-Fla., the House
National Security Committee voted this week that military men
and women should be separated during basic training.
If approved, the measure would require the Army, Navy and Air
Force to house and train male and female recruits separately --
something the Marine Corps already does -- beginning in April
1999. Waivers would be allowed until October 2001, however, to
give the services time to build facilities.
Several members of the House National Security Committee, which
gave voice-vote approval to the revised training program
Wednesday, noted same-sex training caused problems, including
harassment of recruits by drill instructors. They said teaching
women fighting skills away from men could help women's focus and
Boot camp is "the most vulnerable time of your life," said Rep.
Gene Taylor, D-Miss. "All we're trying to do is get basic
training back to basic training, not social experimentation."
Fowler, believes that the decision on how to train troops
should be left up to the individual services. "We're
micro-managing when we start getting down to some of this," she
An amendment introduced by Fowler, and voted down 30-23, would
have allowed the services to continue training males and females
together while a congressional commission studies the issue.
"We should not be pre-judging the commission's report. We
should wait until the commission issues its report, then react,"
said Fowler, who noted the study is costing $2.2 million.
Fowler's amendment also called for the services to provide, "to
the extent feasible," separate housing. But it would not have
required men and women be separated in entirely separate
Fowler said males and females could be housed in the same
buildings but in different wings or floors divided by locked
doors and with separate entrances, for example.
The Army alone estimates it would cost up to $200 million to
build entirely separate barracks, she said. …