Sexuality: Histories, Behaviors, and Lifestyles that Impact Unit Readiness and Cohesion
In the aftermath of the Aberdeen scandal, the Pentagon conducted a study to identify factors that may or may not contribute to positive gender relations in the military. The survey identified specific sexual behaviors in an exhaustive questionnaire that was completed by more than 9,000 service members. Cohesion results from the respect, confidence, caring, and communication that bind members of a unit together—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The level of cohesion depends upon how well the unit can work as a smoothly functioning team to accomplish all missions in peace and war. When evaluating for unit cohesion and readiness, the factors contributing to success or failure are generally not correlated with gender issues, except for one area: non-deployability due to pregnancy. Gender integration is an extremely complex phenomenon in the military. The nature of military gender integration is dissimilar to gender integration in any civilian occupation that has successfully folded women in the organizational ranks.