The Army, Navy and Air Force are expected to reject a committee's recommendations that the nation's armed services separate men and women for much of basic and advanced training, officials said Tuesday night.
In drafts of reports prepared for Defense Secretary William Cohen, the three services have opposed separating recruits by sex at the most basic level of training and housing them in separate barracks, as recommended by a special panel headed by Nancy Kassebaum Baker, the former Republican senator from Kansas, the officials said.Her recommendations - made in December - rekindled an impassioned debate inside and outside the Pentagon about the decadeslong efforts to integrate women into the military. Created in the wake of reports of sexual harassment at the Army's advanced training school at Aberdeen, the panel concluded that the Army, Navy and Air Force should train more like the Marine Corps, which strictly segregates male and female recruits at the corps' recruit depot on Parris Island, S.C.
Both President Clinton and Cohen said after the Kassebaum Baker report was issued that they would respect the views of the services on this issue. For that reason, Cohen is unlikely to go against the wishes of the services on such a controversial change.
On Tuesday night the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the three services would accept many of the panel's other recommendations. The services do agree with making improvements in training and re-cruiting drill sergeants and a toughening of physical fitness training and standards, the officials said.