Infantry Training Battalion: a predictive model for success under female integration
Dove, John M.
Richmond, Brian A.
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In January 2016, the Department of Defense lifted restrictions barring women from serving in infantry units. However, since then, there have been very few women who have successfully completed the Marine Corps' Infantry Training Battalion (ITB). These low graduation rates, coupled with the Commandant's mandate that the Marine Corps institute a diversity goal of 10% female from its current 7 to 8%, raise concerns that the Marine Corps will drop training standards to meet the new manning goals. Rather than focus on standards, this study conducts a quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify key predictors of success and failure of enlisted Marines, both men and women, training at ITB East and West. The goal is to help Marine Corps leadership identify Marines who are most likely to graduate, thereby increasing graduation rates without having to drop any standards. We estimate logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression models using data from Marine Corps' Total Force Data Warehouse and class data from ITB West. Estimates from these models suggest that physical and cognitive ability are, by far, the greatest predictors of success. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the nature of the training at ITB, we find that physical performance and physical health make up the preponderance, almost 80%, of failures at ITB. Specifically, the Military Occupational Specialty Specific Physical Standards (MSPS) account for more than 50% of the ITB failures. The significance of these results suggests that Marine leadership should place a premium on readiness for the MSPS and overall physical health prior to sending Marines to ITB.
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