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Release No: 682-97
December 16, 1997


Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen instructed the military services to assess proposals to strengthen entry level and advanced training. The recommendations, submitted by the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, are designed to improve the effectiveness of military training. The panel was chaired by retired Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker.

"It is clear from the report that the panel shares my determination to make sure that military training is fair, demanding and effective," Cohen said.

The panel's report strongly supports today's gender-integrated force. In its six-month review, the panel assessed basic and advance training programs to insure that they are producing an effective, disciplined and ready force. The panel emphasized the need to continue gender-integrated training, but it found several areas in which training for male and female recruits could be improved.

Secretary Cohen asked the military services to "review these recommendations and report back to me within 90 days with their assessment, to include the manpower and personnel implications and the costs that might be associated with their implementation."

The panel studied the full training cycle, including recruiting, basic training and advanced skills training. Its recommendations cover the training cadre, housing of recruits, fitness programs and follow-on advanced training.

Among the several recommendations made for recruiting, the panel proposed better preparing recruits mentally and physically for basic training. It also recommended ways to improve the training cadre. It recommended that physical training requirements be toughened and made more uniform throughout the services. The panel also suggested that emphasis on discipline be carried over from basic to advanced training. The panel recommended that values training be incorporated into all initial entry training programs and that training get more resources.

During visits to training installations, the panel concluded that men and women should be housed in separate barracks and train separately at the operational unit levelthe Army platoon, Navy division, Air Force flight. In the Marine Corps men and women live, eat and train separately. In the Army, Navy and the Air Force, men and women live in separate floors or bays of the same barracks and train together at all levels. The panel believes that in integrated barracks a higher rate of disciplinary problems reduces training effectiveness. The panel also found that integration at the operational unit level is not working effectively.

The panel recommended that gender-integrated training continue for field training, technical training and academic classroom work. This would happen at the Army company level or by pairing two Navy divisions or Air Force flights.

This report is available on the Internet at http://www.defenselink.mil in the "Top News" category.

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