Intangible Benefits in the Composition of the Marine Corps: An Occupation-Based Framework
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Women comprise approximately 8% of the active component in the Marine Corps, a number less than half of female representation in other military services. While the DoD’s recent mandate to fully integrate women is not the focus of this project, the policy dramatically increases the set of opportunities the Marine Corps can offer to women. This project seeks to provide a foundation to ultimately help determine the “optimal” number of women in the Marine Corps. In particular, we determine what a feasible level of gender integration could look like by creating an empirically justified upper bound of female representation across Marine Corps occupations. To establish this, we develop a mapping of Marine military occupational specialties (MOS) to its civilian equivalents using detailed job descriptors. We find previously male-only Marine MOS are equivalent to primarily male-dominated civilian jobs, where the proportions of women still sit at or below 5 percent. There is substantial variation in female representation across Marine jobs, however; for example, women comprise more than 25 percent in the Manpower/Admin Occupational Field (OCCFLD). The analysis reveals the occupational segregation in the Marine Corps closely mirrors that of the civilian labor market. Because some Marine jobs do not map well to civilian equivalents, we also examine determinants of success at infantry training. Finding that physical ability is the dominant predictor of success, we use physical fitness data of male and female civilian youth to further estimate the proportions of women we may expect in the infantry OCCFLD. Finally, we develop an analytical framework that can address the costs and benefits of increasing the proportion of women in the Marine Corps.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.Prepared for: HQMC M&RA
NPS Report NumberNPS-GSBPP-19-001
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