The Marine Corps has awarded a $ 2 million contract to the University of Pittsburgh to conduct a study on how best to integrate gender into Marine Corps training camp at the platoon level, according to a press release from the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps is the latest branch of service in the United States not to provide fully gender-integrated entry-level training – a practice that Congress mandated for the Corps to complete with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020. .
In early 2019, the Corps conducted training with its first gender-integrating company with five all-male platoons training side-by-side with an all-female platoon. The Corps has used the same model since to train eight other gender-mainstreaming companies.
However, much of the training at the Marine Corps training camp is conducted at the platoon level, which remains completely segregated by gender.
Congress gave the Marine Corps five years to mainstream gender at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, where all female Marine Corps recruits are currently trained.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has had eight years to comply with the new law.
As part of the transition, the Marine Corps planned to commission a study on how best to incorporate training at the platoon level, while maintaining Marine Corps standards and tradition.
The funding will go to the university’s neuromuscular research lab and the Warrior Human Performance Research Center and aims to “analyze combinations of gender-integrated training and make recommendations for models that integrate gender as much as possible while continuing to train Marines to established standards, âthe press release said.
“The University of Pittsburgh was chosen because of its exceptional proposition and proven track record in producing quality research material,” Marine Corps spokesperson Captain Sam Stephenson told the Marine Corps Times in an email. “They have a solid understanding of the intent of the study and will provide an objective, evidence-based assessment of gender mainstreaming in Marine Corps recruiting depots.”
The University of Pittsburgh researchers will be joined by representatives from the University of South Carolina’s Department of Exercise Science, Insight Policy Research and the University of Maryland’s Department of Sociology, the statement said.
Training in Parris Island, South Carolina and San Diego will be investigated, along with data collected during entry-level training conducted by other departments, according to the press release.
Stephenson said military, navy, air force and coast guard data will be included in the study.
“This independent study will provide an assessment of the Marine Corps’ approach to gender mainstreaming and will be used as a benchmark and resource for future planning,” the press release said.
“Specifically, it will address the sociological effects of increased gender integration and consider training models that maintain the same level of discipline, fitness, attention to detail and camaraderie.”
The study will run for 18 months and will include interviews, focus group surveys, physical performance data, salivary biomarkers and injury monitoring, said Bradley Nidnl, director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory / Center for Research on the human performances of the University of Pittsburgh warriors, to Marine Corps Times Tuesday in an email.
Stephenson said the Marine Corps will see a final copy of the study by September 2021, but it will take another six months to go through the peer review process.
Once the peer review is complete, it will be published in a peer-reviewed journal once completed, according to the press release.