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December 16, 1997




Recruiting Policy

Training Cadre

Basic Training Organization

Basic Training Requirements

Teaching Professional Relationships

Advanced School

Values Training

Training Resources


Committee Members

Committee Staff Members

Committee Travel Schedule


On June 27, 1997, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced the appointment of the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, an independent panel comprised of eleven private citizens and chaired by former Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker. The committee's mission has been to assess the current training programs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and to determine how best to train our gender-integrated, all-volunteer force to ensure that they are disciplined, effective and ready.

In order to implement its mission, the committee has looked at the full cycle for the recruit, starting at the recruiting station, through basic and advanced training, and then talking to newly assigned service members and their supervisors at their operational units. The committee held its first of two Washington, D.C. meetings on July 17, 1997, with most of that first session dedicated to briefings by the services on their training programs and policies. Subsequently, the committee members traveled in subgroups to 17 military sites, which included the major training facilities of all the services and visits to operational units where new service members have been assigned after training.

The committee members' central means for gathering information has been going directly to the source and conducting discussion groups with randomly selected recruits, instructors, newly assigned service members and their first-line supervisors, as well as interviews with the immediate chain of command, support-group personnel, and recruiters. The result has been that the committee has talked to over 1,000 recruits, over 500 instructors, over 300 first-term service members, and over 275 supervisors in operational units.

The military services are currently going through an historic transition period. With the end of the Cold War, the United States is redefining its threats and the services are revising their missions to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The downsizing of our forces over the past ten years from 2.2 million to 1.4 million active-duty service members, combined with the advances in technology, are changing how and when America defends its interests. The demographics of the all-volunteer force have also been undergoing a major transition. Since 1972, when women comprised about 2 percent of the military, the number of women has increased in the total force to about 13.5 percent and recent policy changes have opened up more than 260,000 new positions for women. These significant changes and trends are requiring adjustments to how today's recruits are trained. There is no more valuable military resource than its personnel, making training, indisputably, a top priority. It is the committee's intention, during this time of transition, to contribute to the effort to craft a sound policy for training our young men and women today for tomorrow's missions.

The principal objective of the military's training programs is to produce an effective, efficient, and ready force. In order to achieve this objective, the training programs must, first and foremost, emphasize and instill discipline. The initial entry training (IET) programs' other primary objectives are to produce self-confident, physically fit, and technically competent graduates who are trained in the skills of teamwork necessary for the success of a unit's mission. Tough mental and physical training are essential for achieving these objectives.

It is against these overall benchmarks that the committee assessed each service's training programs. The committee recognizes that each service is training for its specific mission and objectives. While respecting the differences among the services, it was also apparent during the visits to the 17 military sites that certain themes and problems arose which crossed service lines, and the committee recommendations reflect these observations.

By far the most important factors affecting the success of initial entry training are the quality and integrity of the leadership. The training programs are, in a very short period of time, working to instill military values into the new recruits. The process starts for these new recruits at the recruiting station, where the recruiter is the first role model to come into contact with the recruit. At the training installation, the power, authority, and influence of the training cadre, the Army's drill sergeant, the Marine's drill instructor, the Air Force's military training instructor and the Navy's recruit division commander is hard to replicate in any other training institution. The chain of command, all the way up to the installation commander, serves as role models during this intense training period. Leadership behavior, if improper, can seriously countermand the objectives of the training programs. The committee underscores that quality leadership training, selection, and accountability must be a top priority for all the services.

Consistent with its review, the committee recommendations cover the full training cycle, including recruitment, basic, and advanced training. In each of these phases, the committee believes the programs should be strengthened in order to optimize the opportunity to teach discipline and teamwork, as well as other key elements necessary for a ready force.

Regarding gender-integrated training specifically, as the Secretary of Defense noted when he announced the committee's establishment, the problems at Aberdeen and elsewhere have raised questions about the success of gender-integrated training. The committee believes it is important to put gender-integrated training in perspective. Perhaps most importantly, the committee underscores that women in the military have been proudly and proficiently serving this nation for years. The committee believes that the increasing number of women in expanded roles is an important reason why the United States is able to maintain an effective and efficient volunteer military force.

Furthermore, all of the services conduct gender-integrated training at some point during the initial entry training cycle. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have gender-integrated programs in both basic and advanced training. The Marine Corps trains separately in basic training but has a gender-integrated seventeen-day follow-on program, Marine Combat Training, and advanced training which is gender-integrated. But it is also important to point out that today, contrary to public perception, only a minority of male recruits routinely train with females in basic training. This is, in part, due to the percentage of female recruits and how the training units are grouped. Approximately 50 percent of the Army's male recruits, 25 percent of the Navy's male recruits, and 40 percent of the Air Force's male recruits routinely train with females in basic training. In follow-on training, all the services conduct gender-integrated training and women are dispersed more widely throughout skill-training courses. Nevertheless, at least 30 percent of the Army male trainees and 25 percent of the Marine male trainees train in all-male units in advanced training because they are in the combat arms specialities. Consequently, an evaluation of gender-integrated training is only part of any assessment of the effectiveness of the overall training programs.

The committee strongly supports a gender-integrated volunteer military force. The committee also firmly believes that gender-integrated training must continue to be an important element of the training program. But the committee has concluded that certain organizational changes are required.

The committee has made recommendations regarding gender-integration in training where appropriate, but has also made recommendations regarding a large number of other issues that we concluded have an impact on the effectiveness of the overall training programs. It is the committee's intention that its recommendations be viewed as a complete package, since training is a building-block process beginning with the quality of the recruit.

The committee respectfully submits with unanimous support the following recommendations, which start with the recruitment process and then cover the full training cycle:











Recruiting policy is not only the starting point, but an essential element of an effective all-volunteer military force. As the committee observed, recruiters play a vital role in preparing recruits for the mental and physical challenges of basic training. Consequently, recruitment strategies and policies ultimately affect overall morale, discipline, and commitment not only in recruit training, but also in the operational units. The committee has concluded that significant strengthening of the recruiting programs in terms of appeal, information, preparation, and consistency is warranted. Improving basic training programs without also strengthening the recruiting process would be only partial reform with limited impact on the quality of training.

All four services, but particularly the Army, given the size of its recruiting requirements, are beginning to have difficulty attracting a sufficient number of high-quality recruits. As the services briefed the committee on July 17, they need Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who not only possess traditional military values that are becoming rarer in our society, but who also can carry out increasingly diverse missions with unprecedented autonomy in a fast-changing high-technology environment at ever faster operational tempos. However, Defense Department surveys show that youth interest in the military has declined over the past five years, political pressure to reduce defense spending, or at least hold it steady, is likely to remain intense, and the competition between the military and civilian employees for skilled or trainable and reliable workers is intensifying as the economy remains strong.

These formidable recruiting challenges combined with the committee's concerns that morale, discipline, performance, and commitment must be enhanced in the entry phase, has resulted in the following recommendations for improvements in recruiting policy:

The Army, Navy, and to a lesser extent the Air Force have adopted recruitment strategies that emphasize cash bonuses, money for college, tuition loan repayments, and/or skills training. While these incentives may make recruiting easier, the Committee found that they are making the maintenance of discipline more difficult because by definition, many recruits have joined these services just to get out and get back to school.

The Committee recommends that the services adopt recruitment strategies which are primarily premised more on motivational themes, including those of patriotism and service to country, as well as personal challenge.

The Committee observed that the recruiters' pressures to meet monthly accession targets is having an adverse impact on the quality of recruits. Furthermore, approximately a third of enlistees in the military fail to complete their first tours of duty. The Marines have made a determined effort to integrate recruiting and training. The Marine recruiter does not receive credit for a recruitment until the recruit has successfully completed basic training. The Navy has recently shifted away from its former policy, which emphasized credit for recruiters based on shipping to basic training, to a point system that puts significant emphasis on graduation from basic training. The committee also observed that more can be done to make recruitment career-enhancing.

The Committee recommends that all the services institute programs to increase recruiter incentives, to make recruitment career-enhancing, and to link a recruiter's full credit for a recruitment to the recruit's performance in basic training. It is also important that these programs be applied consistently within each service, and that the screening of recruits, particularly for preexisting medical conditions, be implemented more rigorously.

The Committee observed that recruits who actively participated in the Delayed Entry Program were better prepared for basic training, both mentally and physically, than their counterparts. Between 70 and 80 percent of all recruits across the services spend at least 30 days in the Delayed Entry Program. Nevertheless, many recruits skipped the DEP meetings and did not follow the physical training recommendations. As a result, many recruits arrived at basic training out of condition and struggling to keep up with the physical requirements. The committee observed that it is important that recruits receive instruction in core values, military subjects, and physical training between enlistment and entry-level training.

The Committee recommends that DEP be utilized more extensively and consistently to familiarize recruits with basic training, to teach service values and basic military skills, and to ensure that recruits are physically fit before they arrive at basic training.

The majority of recruits told the committee that their recruiters lied to them. While recognizing that this reaction may in part be selective listening by the new recruits, the problem seems large enough to warrant corrective action because it covered all the services, both sexes, and was widespread geographically. Recruit comments included: Told me basic training was like a big slumber party; didn't tell me anything; guaranteed me a specific advanced school which was not available; told me the wrong clothes and necessities to bring to basic training; didn't know much about what went on with female training; recruiters seemed last to know about changes, should be the first.

The Committee recommends that recruiter training incorporate more time observing training at the training installations in order to enhance recruiters' knowledge of the training programs. The committee also recommends that the program regarding materials and information a recruiter needs to expose a new recruit to in order to prepare them for basic training be more standardized among the services as well as within each service.

The committee observed that all of the services' recruiting programs would be strengthened by more female recruiters. It is important that the recruit's first exposure at the recruiting station to military life and military values include both male and female role models.

The committee recommends that the number of female recruiters be increased across the services.

During the Committee visit to Marine advanced training, concerns were raised about the recruiter assistance program which sends new basic training graduates on leave for potentially as long as 40 days to help recruit new Marines. While this program is successful in promoting recruitment, the committee is concerned that it is having a negative effect on discipline, military bearing, and physical conditioning prior to the new Marine continuing on to advanced training. The other services also have recruiter assistant programs, which the committee understands rely mainly on advanced school trainees as well as new service members.

The Committee recommends that the recruiter assistant program for all the services should rely mainly on service members who have completed their advanced training. However, if trainees who have completed only basic training are going to be utilized in this program, their assistance should be limited to their scheduled leave time and not be extended beyond that for purposes of assisting in recruiting.


The training cadre is the single most important determinant of the effectiveness of recruit training. The role played by the Army's drill sergeants, the Marine's drill instructors, the Navy's recruit division commanders, and the Air Force's military training instructors is unique in terms of its influence and control. The training cadre, whose responsibilities in basic training include teaching discipline, military procedures, values, physical training, and providing support and assistance to the recruit, defines the recruit's training experience. Their behavior and attitudes greatly influence the behavior and attitudes of the recruits. These training instructors also play a large role in defining the quality of every recruit's performance throughout his or her military career. In advanced training, while the role of the training cadre is less central than in basic training, training instructors still bear the primary responsibility for maintaining standards of discipline and military bearing.

Given the unique form of authority and influence the training cadre has over recruits during initial entry training, the committee strongly underscores that the selection process and training need to be strengthened, accountability needs to be enforced, and support services need to be enhanced in varying degrees by all of the services. The committee found that the quality of leadership provided by the training cadre varies widely both within and among the services. The committee also found, mainly as a result of the incidents at Aberdeen, that many of the Army's drill sergeants are demoralized. However, their problems and concerns are shared, for the most part, by the Air Force's military training instructors and the Navy's recruit division commanders and to a certain extent by Marine drill instructors. Consequently, the committee has also concluded that corrective action needs to be taken in varying degrees by the different services to increase staffing; clearly establish lines of authority; reestablish the training cadre's confidence in the chain of command; and improve incentives, rewards, and support services. In order to ensure the quality and success of the training programs the committee recommends the following:

Particularly for the Army and the Navy, the committee observed that the screening of the training cadre either lacks important criteria, such as psychological testing, or that the criteria are not strictly enforced. In the Navy, the committee was told that the psychological screening is, in some cases, just a "box checking" exercise by the candidate's immediate supervisor. The Army does not currently have such testing, although it is reviewing how to implement these procedures. The Army also differentiates in its screening process between volunteers and those who are ordered to be drill sergeants. Volunteers, who comprise only 30 percent of the Army's drill sergeant pool, undergo tighter scrutiny. Also, the committee observed that all of the services review disciplinary actions only for a period of three-to-five years before an applicant is considered for a position as a trainer. The committee believes that more thorough screening would provide an important, proactive, preventative measure against abuses of power.

The committee recommends that the services adopt more thorough and uniform screening processes, including psychological testing, checks of family stability, and a thorough review of prior records, including law enforcement and security records. The committee also recommends that tight controls be put into place to ensure that these background checks are done in a professional manner and are not just a "box checking" exercise by superiors. Furthermore, background checks for disciplinary action should include the entire service record of the candidate.

Classroom training for the training cadre varies among the services from approximately 6 to 11 weeks. Across the services, the committee observed that the training of drill sergeants, drill instructors, recruit division commanders, and military training instructors needs to be strengthened with greater emphasis on situational training. Army drill sergeants, almost without exception, described their training as good at teaching them the program of instruction they need to know, but inadequate for preparing them to deal with real-life problems they face daily in their jobs. In the Navy, the trainers welcomed the improvements in their training but believed more practical training was required beyond the one or two weeks they receive in the field. The Marine drill instructors also acknowledged that their most valuable training was received on the job with recruits. The committee observed that the Air Force program provided the strongest situational training, requiring 6 weeks of classroom instruction accompanied by 8 weeks of field work.

The committee also observed that in the three services that conduct gender-integrated basic training, male instructors do not feel prepared to train female recruits. Frightened by potential sexual harassment charges, they are avoiding female recruits and relying on their female colleagues to enforce rules and discipline. The committee was told that, in the Army, attrition at the drill sergeant schools is rising because of fear of sexual harassment charges ruining careers.

The committee recommends that all the services enhance their training programs for the training cadre by including more situational instruction both in the classroom and in the field, as the Air Force program does. The committee also recommends that situational instruction be enhanced for trainers, not only in sexual harassment but also in training tools for each gender. Furthermore, the Army, which currently has its training for drill sergeants at three locations, should consolidate the program.

The committee observed that the trainer-to-recruit staffing ratios are too low in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, contributing to a loss of morale among the training cadre and a decrease in their effectiveness. The problem the committee observed stemmed from the training installations either not filling all their authorized staffing slots, trainers performing other jobs while assigned to a training slot, or leave policies, such as those in the Air Force, which allow trainers to go on leave during a training cycle. The committee also observed that the staffing problem was addressed in the Army and Air Force at times by using reservists to fill training slots, which was subject to criticism because, in some cases, they had not been selected carefully or were serving for too short a period of time. The staffing ratios have a critical impact on the trainers' ability to handle the stress of their responsibilities and to perform their jobs well. In advanced school, across the services, the staffing of the training cadre was so inadequate that it made trainers virtually ineffective. At the Navy's advanced school at Great Lakes, the staffing ratio was as low as 1 to 200 when the Navy's objective is a ratio of 1 to 50. During the Army visits, the committee also observed that there were morale problems both on the part of the trainers and the recruits when male trainers with combat arms specialties who wanted to train all-male combat arms recruits were instead put in charge of training units with female recruits. The quality of the Army's One Station Unit Training, which combines basic training and advanced training under the same drill sergeants, was also compromised when the unit's drill sergeant did not share the same speciality of the unit.

The committee recommends that the Army, Navy and Air Force make a commitment to increase the number of training cadre assigned, that the selection and assignment process be strengthened for active and reserve candidates, and that the Army seek to ensure that trainer assignment policies are enforced as much as possible to place trainers with similar specialities in charge of its One Station Unit Training.

Across the services the committee observed a clear need for more female trainers. They provide important role models for the female recruits and also help male recruits realize that females are authority figures in their own right. An increase in female instructors will also allow the services to give same-sex instructors primary responsibility for discipline in the barracks, providing another safeguard against abuses of power.

The committee recommends that all four services increase the number of female trainers.

Without exception, across the services, the training cadre perform their jobs at great personal cost, working long hours and sometimes averaging 18-hour work days. The committee observed that the Marine Corps has successfully developed the job of drill instructor as a prestigious, career-enhancing position. The drill instructors believe they have the support of their chain of command and also have a strong sense of cohesion among themselves. The committee has concluded that serving as a training instructor should be promoted as part of the service's esprit de corps; both recruiting good candidates and training them should be a valued objective, as well as a stepping-stone to promotion. The committee observed that the other services have not achieved this same goal. In the Army the majority of drill sergeants are not volunteers, and the committee observed, for the most part, a demoralized training cadre that does not believe it has the support of the chain of command, believes it is often considered "guilty until proven guilty", and believes a tour as a drill sergeant is not career-enhancing. Support services, including quality child care and adequate uniform allowances, were also lacking. Many recruit division commanders in the Navy also felt undervalued, underappreciated, and under-supported by their chain of command. One of the more frequent complaints was that despite a recruit division commander's long hours and the toll on his or her family life, a recruit division commander receives only token credit for sea duty and promotion results did not seem to reflect the long hours of service. While the Air Force's military training instructors did come back to serve as military training instructors after successfully completing a tour and were committed to the work they were doing for the Air Force, they, too for the most part, felt undervalued and overworked without sufficient support services to help them through their tours. Some Air Force military training instructors also did not feel a team cohesion with their colleagues. In fact, many felt they must compete with their fellow military training instructors for promotions and that there was a lot of "backbiting" among the cadre.

The committee recommends that incentives, rewards, and support services be enhanced so that serving as a training instructor is career-enhancing, with concrete benefits and awards for performing this difficult and demanding job well. The Army, in particular, needs to establish the incentives that would attract a much larger percentage of volunteers.

To varying degrees in all the services, lines of authority for implementing the training objectives were not clear to the training cadre. At worst, trainers felt that their tools had been taken away from them by the chain of command, making them mere "babysitters" with no real authority or respect. At best, they felt that they did not confidently know the rules governing their training instruction, since the rules seem to be changing so frequently. Some trainers felt that bill of rights cards, dial-a-problem phone lines, and recruit training critiques have given recruits a stronger sense of their rights than of their responsibilities.

The committee recommends that the chain of command at each of the training installations work closely with the training cadre to explain training philosophy, programs, and tools. The trainers need to be provided clear and common-sense lines of instruction on their authority. The goal of any action plan to curtail abuses of power is not to undermine the authority of the training cadre to render it ineffective in implementing the training programs, but rather to ensure tight accountability, to deter against abuse, and to encourage reporting of abuses. The committee recommends that all the services review the programs they have put into place to help curtail abuses of power by the training cadre and work to find a balance between providing the means for reporting abuses and maintaining the instructors' authority. For example, the committee recommends that the number of recruit surveys filled out during a training cycle be reduced without eliminating them as a source of information.

As a result of downsizing, support-group personnel, including chaplains and other support services, have suffered cutbacks. The committee also observed that availability of access to support-group personnel also varied at the different installations. At some installations, the chaplains, inspector general, as well as other support-group personnel were very proactive and visible during recruit training. The committee also was told at some other installations that recruits did not know who or what the IG was, or that their ability to see a chaplain was controlled and discouraged by the training cadre or merely by their lack of access to a phone. The committee concluded that access to support-group personnel can be a critical determinant in controlling abuses at the training installations.

The committee recommends that the services review their staffing of support-group personnel and that the chain of command encourage the support group personnel to approach their job responsibilities proactively, making themselves available to recruits, and that the commands enforce policies that ensure recruit access to support-group personnel when requested.


Although each service tailors its basic training to prepare recruits for their specific service's mission, the main goal of basic training for all the services is essentially the same. First and foremost, unlike any other training or educational program in civilian society, the principal objective of military basic training is instilling discipline. Good order and discipline are the bedrock of an effective and ready military force. Initial entry training, across the services, also seeks to produce self-confident, physically fit, and technically competent graduates who are trained in the skills of teamwork necessary for the success of a unit's mission.

One of the committee's principal conclusions is that the services are not optimizing their opportunity to teach discipline and teamwork in their training programs. In varying degrees, the committee was told during its visits to the operational units that graduates are arriving with less discipline, less respect, less military bearing, and less technical skill than previously. There are many contributing factors to these problems, which this report aims to address as comprehensively as possible. But among the contributing factors are two organizational issues in basic training that stand out at gender-integrated basic training military facilities--how male and female recruits are billeted and how they are organized in units to train. The committee recognizes that only 50 percent of the Army's male recruits, 25 percent of the Navy's male recruits and 40 percent of the Air Force's male recruits routinely train with females, limiting the impact of any recommendations in this area. Nevertheless, with the principal objective of enhancing discipline and team-building, as well as improving opportunities for instilling military values and skills, the committee recommends the following:

Under the current gender-integrated basic training structure, the Army, Navy, and Air Force all house female recruits on separate floors or separate wings of barracks occupied by male recruits. The reason for this policy is that basic training is an intense, 24-hour-a-day program of instruction. In order to achieve the goals, particularly of team-building, unit cohesion and discipline, the operational training units must remain together day and night. The Marines, who conduct separate training for males and females, have separate barracks for male and female trainees at Parris Island. The committee observed that integrated housing is contributing to a higher rate of disciplinary problems. Both recruits and their trainers, consequently, are distracted from their training objectives, which must be accomplished in a short period of time in basic training. In the Army, for example, some drill sergeants complained about the inordinate amount of time spent investigating or disciplining male/female misconduct. The committee observed that the problem is exacerbated in mixed-gender housing units, particularly where male and female recruits live on the same floor. It is difficult for trainers in these units to know who should or should not be in the barracks.

The committee recommends that female and male recruits be housed in separate barracks. This would decrease disciplinary problems and reduce distractions from training. The committee has reviewed the layout and surge numbers at the training installations, and believes this change can be accomplished at marginal cost, if any. The initial cost of remodeling the barracks to accommodate women was low, according to the General Accounting Office. There are no physical constraints to using current infrastructure at any of the installations and no new buildings, according to the committee review, are required to implement this recommendation.

The Army, Navy, and Air Force conduct gender-integrated training in basic and advanced training. The Marine Corps conducts completely separate training in basic training, and integrates training in its follow-on 17-day program called Marine Combat training, as well as in advanced school.

The committee observed that, although the main aim of the Army, Navy, and Air Force's "train as we fight" doctrine is to instill teamwork and discipline, the present organizational structure in integrated basic training is resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion, and more distraction from the training programs.

The most important unit in basic training is the operational training unit. This unit consists of about 60 trainees assigned to approximately three training instructors. Respectively for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, these are called platoons, divisions, and flights. They are the single most important unit in basic training for teaching team-building, unit cohesion, and discipline and are the units that are run by the Army's drill sergeants, the Navy's recruit division commanders, and the Air Force's military training instructors.

The committee observed that gender-integration at the operational training unit level is causing confusion and a less cohesive environment. Under the present system, recruits in the Army, Navy, and Air Force who are in gender-integrated operational training units are organized into "split" units. A portion of the female recruits housed in one sleeping bay and a portion of the male recruits from another sleeping bay make up a training unit, thus achieving a kind of gender-integration. The result has been a loss of cohesion in the sleeping bay, because they no longer form an operational training unit. Recruits, in all three services who are in gender-integrated operational training units, complain that they do not work as a team in the barracks because they are competing during inspections against the other portion of their sleeping bays who are in different training units.

In addition, this "split" training unit works against the goal of teaching male and female recruits how to work together from the beginning of their training. Because the trainers' main focus is to maintain discipline and, consequently, to keep males and females from breaking the rules, the trainers have seized on the simplest alternatives--a "no talk, no touch" doctrine which boils sexual harassment policy down to its lowest and most enforceable level. A buddy system is also enforced when male and female recruits interact. As a consequence, it is very difficult, if not at times impossible, for male and female recruits to work together in their own units. This exacerbates problems of coordination already encumbered by the physical separation. Training, consequently, is in fact more concurrent than truly integrated.

These "split" operational training units are also creating coordination challenges for trainers, who are already overworked and understaffed. Trainers no longer know their recruits as well as they did when training units remained together 24 hours a day. This erodes discipline. Trainers must also dedicate valuable time to policing male/female misconduct, taking away from training time. Rules and instructions are further confused because, recruits say, their trainer in the barracks may not be their trainer in their unit. This results in different standards being taught from those being rated.

In the Army and the Navy, the significant number of male recruits who are not in gender-integrated operational units are structured in units which sleep in the same bay and have the same three trainers around the clock. In the Navy, the all-male divisions usually win awards. This leads many male recruits in integrated divisions to conclude they are not winning awards because of females in the unit, not because of the structure. The Air Force has tried to deal with this problem by splitting all units, not just the ones with females assigned, so that no flight has an advantage. The committee observed that this approach, only recently initiated, has only compounded the problem.

The committee recommends that the Army, Navy, and Air Force organize all their operational training units by gender in platoons, divisions and flights. The committee believes this will recapture the cohesion, discipline, and team-building of living and training together as an operational unit. Specifically, the committee recommends that the Army integrate training starting at the company level, and that the Navy and Air Force integrate training by pairing male and female divisions and flights for field, technical, and academic training.

The committee recognizes that there will be some loss of training time together between males and females, including time spent marching together and eating together. However, because many trainers now insist their recruits refrain from talking to the opposite sex at all times, these periods of marching and eating together provide little in the way of meaningful integration. Therefore, the committee believes these losses will be minimal when compared to the gains in discipline and team building, two principal objectives of basic training. Integrated companies and pairings of divisions and flights will still provide ample opportunities for males and females to train together in the field and in classrooms, which is basically what they do now, without breaking the cohesion of the operational training unit. The professional level of the training will also be enhanced by the removal of the "no talk, no touch" policies. The committee does not believe this structural change will adversely affect female morale. The committee observed impressive levels of confidence, team-building, and esprit de corps in the all-female training platoons at the Marine Corps Parris Island base. Female recruits in the other services were more divided as to whether their basic training was producing these outcomes. Regarding trainers, while the committee believes it is important to have at least one same-sex trainer assigned to each operational training unit, the committee underscores the importance of both male and female operational units having trainers of the opposite sex, given the importance of role models.

Basic training ranges from six weeks in the Air Force to nine weeks for the Army and Navy. This is a short period of time and presents formidable challenges for the training cadre. It should be organized in the best way possible in order to transmit military values and skills. Most recruits come into the service from integrated environments in school and at work, and the committee believes that separating recruits at the operational training level in basic training will not adversely affect the recruits' ability to work together. In fact, separating the recruits at the operational training unit level should provide a better environment for teaching military values, including professional relations.

Perhaps the biggest challenge presented by separate recruit training at the operational unit level is countering attitudes that training standards are different and ensuring that female recruits are instilled with a sense of equal accomplishment and are not driven constantly to prove that they really are Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, or Airmen. Consequently, the committee believes that male and female operational units must be educated about the other units' training, so that male recruits see that females accomplish the same goals as males. Training must be such that single-sex operational units witness one another accomplishing their training objectives. The committee specifically recommends that more concurrent training be phased in as the recruits progress through their basic training cycle. This would help prepare recruits' transition to gender-integrated advanced training.


Recruits, advanced school trainees, and newly assigned service members almost all said that basic training was easier than expected and the vast majority said that it should be tougher, complaining that basic training "has gone soft." The committee believes that the basic training requirements should be toughened, that discipline should be more strongly emphasized and enforced, and that the requirements and standards should be made more consistent across training units within a service. Specifically, the committee recommends the following:

The committee observed that, at the training installations, the implementation of training standards varied depending on the judgment of the trainers responsible for the units or the battalion commanders and their equivalents. The result was confusion among recruits and a perception that standards are applied unfairly. A number of standards could also be waived, again depending on the judgment of the trainers and supervisors.

There also are different standards for males and females for performance in such areas as obstacle courses (where there are shorter walls versus taller walls and ropes with and without knots to climb), confidence courses (where women are not required to try to do all of the obstacles), and grenade throwing (where the target is 25 meters from the fighting position for females and 35 meters away for males). While some of these different standards are also applicable to smaller males, they are fueling the perception that women are less capable. In the Marine Corps, the rope with knots which may be used by smaller males is informally referred to by recruits as the "WM" (Women Marine) rope.

The committee also observed that in certain instances male trainers are not applying the standards equally to female recruits either because they are frightened by potential charges of sexual harassment, because they are not familiar with the regulations that apply to females, or because they do not believe women can meet the same standards as men. Some male recruits also complained that female recruits are disciplined less harshly by male instructors. These perceptions are helping to undermine morale and team-building among recruits, and in particular, between the genders.

Furthermore, the committee also observed that, almost uniformly, Army and Air Force recruits were disappointed with their field-training exercises and urged that they be strengthened. As implemented, they were viewed as too short and not challenging or instructive. Marine and Navy recruits almost uniformly praised their culminating training events, the Crucible and Battle Stations respectively, although Navy recruits believed that Battle Stations could be made more challenging.

The committee recommends that the services toughen the requirements in basic training by having the chain of command provide more consistent guidance on training standards, by limiting the number of standards that can be waived, by reviewing those standards where there are differences for males and females in order to remove as many differences as possible, by ensuring more strict oversight that current standards are being equally applied to both males and females, and by making field training more challenging (and, if appropriate, by adding culminating events).

The committee observed that most recruits' disappointment that basic training was not tough enough focused specifically on the physical fitness standards which they believed were too easy. The recruits also had expected more physical training. There is widespread cynicism about the physical requirements of basic training and follow-on standards for both males and females. The services, in varying degrees, still seem to be clinging to the notion that physical fitness standards should relate directly to mission, as opposed to embracing fitness as a lifestyle discipline required for good health whether one flies, sails, or works at a computer. There was also disappointment that physical training was dropped from the basic training curriculum on a daily or weekly basis if schedules became too busy. The committee also observed that the use of athletic shoes in basic training is strengthening the physical fitness program. The goal of the physical training regime is, and should continue to be, training a recruit to be physically fit, using the most up-to-date equipment and expertise.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there also is a widespread belief among both males and females that the physical requirements for females are too low. The view that the requirements for women are "Mickey Mouse" feeds the notion that women are not capable physically and therefore not capable of performing to standard in the field.

The committee recommends that physical fitness standards and training regimens be toughened and that instruction on nutrition and healthy lifestyle be expanded. The committee believes that the services should optimize the opportunity, not only to produce physically fit graduates, but also to instill fitness as a career-long, lifestyle discipline. The committee also recommends that all the services have their standards for women evaluated by outside consultants, including strength coaches at major college athletic programs. The objective of this review should be to ensure that female standards correspond accurately to capability. Implementation of this recommendation would have a significant impact on the morale and standing of women in the military.

The Army has a split-option program that allows reserve component recruits to come to basic training before they finish high school and then return for advanced training once high school is completed. While the committee recognizes the Army's interest in locking in recruits as early as possible, the program was uniformly criticized for not properly training recruits who, for the most part, lose their discipline and motivation during the long interval between basic and advanced training.

The committee recommends that the Army end the split-option program for reserve component recruits.

Across the services, concerns were raised that the pressure to keep the "numbers up" is curtailing trainers' ability to separate recruits in basic and later in advanced training who should not be in the military.

While the committee recognizes and respects efforts by the chain of command to recycle and train recruits, the committee recommends that the services undertake a review of their attrition rates and determine whether improvements need to be made in providing more leeway to separate recruits from the service in the early stages before a significant financial investment is made in their training. The committee also recommends that the Army establish a casualty unit that receives and processes basic training recruits who are being discharged.

The Navy issues a card to every new recruit that includes information about whom to contact "if things pile up." The committees recognizes the importance of informing new recruits about support services upon their arrival at basic training. But concerns were raised by Navy trainers about Navy recruits who raise their cards while being disciplined as a way of signaling a time-out.

The committee recommends that the Navy review its "stress" card policy and eliminate the use of these cards by recruits as a means of ending a disciplining or training session.


In order for a gender-integrated force to perform cohesively and effectively, there must be respect for all individuals in the workforce regardless of gender, race, or creed. Across the services, improvement is needed in the instruction on how males and females should relate to each other professionally. In order to strengthen those programs, the committee recommends the following:

The committee observed in recruit training that sexual harassment training was oversimplified, relying mostly on teaching fear in the workplace as a deterrent to inappropriate activity. For example, recruits had been briefed at several installations that looking at a female for more than 3 seconds constitutes sexual harassment. Some recruits were also told, in an effort to deter sexual misconduct, that they should stay away from the opposite sex because they could ruin their career.

At the gender-integrated facilities in basic training, the committee also observed that too much emphasis was being placed on "no talk, no touch" policies between males and females. The recruits are not receiving instruction on what sexual harassment really is or on how to positively relate to each other professionally. Avoidance and fear seem to be the lessons learned in recruit training, rather than positive interpersonal tools.

The committee recommends that "no talk, no touch" policies be eliminated and that instruction on sexual harassment be expanded to include such positive instruction on how to relate professionally. This instruction should be strengthened, not only for recruits, but also for leadership. The committee also recommends that training on professional relations, sexual harassment, and service fraternization policies be continually reinforced throughout the training curriculum.

All of the services have regulations prohibiting disparaging references to gender. Nonetheless, the committee observed, particularly in the Army, Navy, and Marines, that these regulations were not being strictly enforced. In each of these services, the committee observed that the training cadre is transmitting attitudes of sexual discrimination (for example, by telling their male recruits "you run like a bunch of women") and that it is being tolerated as motivational.

The committee recommends that the chain of command strictly enforce the regulations on gender discrimination as tightly as it enforces regulations against racial discrimination.

The committee observed that the term "fraternization" is being used inappropriately in basic training to describe sexual misconduct between recruits, causing confusion regarding service rules on fraternization for newly assigned service members in the field. One newly assigned Soldier said that he was so confused about what fraternization really meant that he just decided to use his own judgment.

The committee recommends that the term fraternization be used only in reference to service policies on this issue.

In order to help dampen the fear of false accusations regarding sexual harassment, the committee recommends that tough punishments be enforced if charges of sexual harassment or misconduct are proven to be intentionally falsified.


Following basic training, graduates in all the services go to advanced training in their specialties. Advanced training can last from 2 weeks to up to 52 weeks, depending on the area of concentration. The format for advanced training is, for the most part, similar in the four services. The trainees physically change location from basic training, they are regrouped according to specialty, and they receive new instructors. The Army also conducts One Station Unit Training, which combines both basic and advanced training under one program continuum. The recruits stay assigned to the same training unit throughout both phases and their drill sergeants do not change.

Although still considered initial entry training, advanced school is very different from basic training. The atmosphere is more like a college campus, with far less emphasis on the regimen of discipline including less attention to military bearing and procedures. Supervisors in the operational units, for the most part, attributed the lack of respect and discipline in their units to the loss of military bearing and courtesies in advanced school. The committee found this to be a problem across the services and believes that the accomplishments of basic training are being eroded in advanced training. Following are the committee's recommendations for improvements in the advanced school training:

For all of the services, advanced school training does not receive the attention, focus, and energy that is required to complete the training cycle. The committee observed that the unstructured approach to advanced school training was not only missing the opportunity to build on the values and discipline instilled in basic training, but in some cases was rolling back those accomplishments. The abrupt release from the discipline of basic training also appeared to be creating an environment that was laden with more disciplinary problems than need be, and susceptible to abuses of power.

All of the services have policies of a phased or earned release of discipline in advanced school. The committee observed that, across the board, these policies need to be strengthened with more discipline and military bearing and courtesies reimposed. The Navy, for example, recently began implementing a basic military training curriculum in advanced school and told the committee that, since implementing that program, student academic and military performance has greatly increased and disciplinary incidents are down significantly. Leave/liberty policies between basic training and advanced training also were the source of disciplinary problems and a loss of motivation.

The committee also observed that the standards for discipline, as well as those for academic and military performance, were not being enforced rigorously. Consistency of implementation of discipline varied widely at specific installations as well as among advanced schools run by the same service. At the Marine Corps advanced school, for example, although curfews existed in the regulations, they did not appear to be widely enforced and some instructors did not even know they existed.

The problem is also exacerbated by the very low staffing ratios between the training cadre to students and also the lack of communication between the academic instructors and the trainers responsible for discipline and military performance. More outsourcing for instructors has also resulted in less emphasis on maintaining military standards.

The committee recommends that the discipline continuum be strengthened in advanced school which will require, among other reforms, improving staffing ratios, improving communication between service school instructors and the training cadre, relying less on outsourcing for instructor personnel, and reviewing leave policies.

The committee observed that at the two phases of transition from basic training to advanced school and advanced school to the unit, the graduates should be better prepared for the lifestyle changes and responsibilities.

Specifically, the committee recommends that, both in basic training and in advanced training, the trainees receive enhanced instruction on alcohol abuse. The instruction should not only focus on the service's regulations regarding alcohol but also include instruction on the problems of alcohol abuse. The instruction should be mandatory. The committee also recommends that rape-awareness programs be strengthened both in basic training and in advanced training and that these programs also be mandatory. Furthermore, the committee recommends that females be better prepared for the transition to the operational units where the ratio of women to men sharply declines in the workforce from that in initial entry training.

In advanced school, all the services have similar policies of billeting females and males together in the same barracks, separated by either floors or wings or partitions on the same floor. The committee observed that discipline was a problem in the barracks as configured.

The committee recommends that male and female students in advanced school be billeted in separate barracks. The committee also recommends that senior enlisted personnel responsible for enforcing discipline in the barracks be the same gender as those students housed in the barracks to the extent possible.

Supervisors in operational units told the committee that the military drawdown and the high rates of deployment are limiting their ability to provide training to newly assigned service personnel.

The committee recommends that each service review its IET curricula and the assumptions underlying it regarding follow-on training in the operational units. The objective of the review should be to see if training in IET should be enhanced in order to relieve the operational units of training responsibilities they may be unable to implement.


While all the services have values training as part of their training curricula, the committee observed that the Marine Corps has instituted a Core Values training curriculum that is unique and has played an important role in their effort to develop character as an integral part of transforming recruits to Marines. The instruction, which is incorporated throughout basic training and is interactive between the drill instructors and recruits, includes reinforcing the values training through teaching Marine Corps history and heroes. Talks given by Marines who have heroically performed in recent military operations are part of the program.

The committee recommends that the services improve values training programs in their initial entry training curricula, which includes advanced as well as basic training.


The committee observed that not only did staffing need to be improved for training instructors and support group personnel, but that improvements needed to be made regarding building maintenance and that shortages of basic sanitary supplies seemed to be prevalent at most of the training installations. One Army support staff member summed up the overall problem stating that the Army should start treating training as if it were a weapons system, lavishing the same time, attention, and money on the preparation of its troops that it does on the design of its guns and the engineering of its tanks. Since FY-91, the money spent by the Department of Defense to train a single recruit has been cut 22 percent.

The committee recognizes that in this period of decreasing budgets, efficiencies in training need to be implemented. Nevertheless, the committee recommends that the Department of Defense increase the resources dedicated to training to improve staffing ratios and infrastructure.






The Honorable Nancy Kassebaum Baker (Chairman), former U. S. Senator

Retired Vice Admiral Richard Allen, USN, former Commander, Naval Air Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet

Mr. John Dancy, former broadcast journalist with NBC News

Retired Lieutenant General Robert H. Forman, USA, former Deputy Commanding General, Training and Doctrine Command

Retired Major General Donald R. Gardner, USMC, former Commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force, Japan

Retired Major General Marcelite J. Harris, USAF, former Director of Maintenance, Headquarters, USAF

The Honorable Deval L. Patrick, partner, law firm of Day, Berry & Howard, Boston, and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Provost, Stanford University

Ms. Ginger Lee Simpson, Retired U.S. Navy Enlisted, former Director, U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy

Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton, Associate Provost of the University of Mississippi, and former Vice-Chair of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (DACOWITS)

Professor Marilyn V. Yarbrough, School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

* * *

The Honorable Lori Esposito Murray, Executive Director; former Special Advisor to the President on the Chemical Weapons Convention







The Honorable Lori Esposito Murray, Executive Director

Lieutenant Colonel Bradford Loo, USA, Senior Military Advisor

Mr. John Walcott, Senior Advisor

Lieutenant Colonel Leon Pappa, USMC, Service Liaison

Major Marvin L. Powel1, USA, Service Liaison

Major Tamra Rank, USAF / Captain Bryon Fessler, USAF, Service Liaison

Lieutenant Ann E. Hollenbeck, USN, Service Liaison

Senior Master Sergeant William Greene III, USAF, Administrative Officer

Ms. Jan Vulevich, Assistant to the Chairman

Ms. Margaret A. Coyle, Assistant to the Executive Director






FORT JACKSON, SC September 17-18
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October 20
NORFOLK, VA (USS Briscoe, USS John C. Stennis) September 26
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