BACKGROUND: The Marine Corps began developing an implementation plan to best research and assess the methods for integrating female Marines into combat arms units and MOSs. The research and assessment period (October 2014 - July 2015) is designed to generate a significant amount of data that will inform the decision making process on opening ground combat units and MOSs to female Marines.
The core intent of the Marine Corps' Force Integration Plan is to maintain the highest levels of combat readiness by establishing and maintaining rigorous gender neutral standards, enhancing warfighting capabilities and realizing the potential of every Marine.
Once all the personnel check in, the GCEITF will have around 650 Marines. About 400 of those will be volunteers, both male and female. They will be the focus of the assessment. The remaining GCEITF Marines will provide the leadership and normal staff functions to facilitate the training.
GCEITF STRUCTURE: The GCEITF unit structure is modeled after a Battalion Landing Team (BLT), meaning it consists mostly of infantry Marines, reinforced with combat engineers, artillery, tanks, amphibious assault vehicles and light armored vehicles. A BLT is typically assigned as the ground combat element for a Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The Marine Corps' deliberate approach to integrating women into combat arms specialties involves research, assessment and validation of current service approved training and readiness standards. During the research phase of the Integration Plan, the female Marines will execute the same tactical tasks as their male counterparts.
GCEITF TRAINING & TIMEFRAME: The GCEITF training is scheduled to start October 2014 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Upon completion of an intensive 16-week training schedule aboard Camp Lejeune, the unit is scheduled to deploy for further training early spring 2015 to conduct the final performance assessment and evaluation.
The 12-week evaluation will be conducted at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif.
The GCEITF is scheduled to deactivate in July 2015. Prior to the deactivation, every Marine and sailor will receive orders to their next command.