Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., on Tuesday called for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to step down over his direction for the Marine Corps to integrate its recruit training.
Mabus had ordered the Marine Corps to provide a plan to integrate the training of its male and female recruits as well as to create gender neutral job titles by the middle of this month. According to Marine Corps Times, however, the service will not be forced to integrate its boot camps.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former Marine, asked for assurances that recruit training and Officer Candidate School would be allowed to be left unchanged.
Female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina train and live separately from their male counterparts, but the training is the same for both genders. No women are trained at the service's other boot camp in San Diego.
Hunter said these rifts between the service and Mabus "undermine the ability of the Navy Secretary to lead the men and women of the Marine Corps and earn their respect."
"The only way this relationship can be repaired, I believe, is through the leadership of a new Navy Secretary — specifically one who does not regularly make a point to undercut the Marine Corps, distract it from its mission and insult its leaders," Hunter wrote in the letter.
He said any of the Corps' 20,668 active-duty officers could be the next Navy secretary.
Mabus clashed with Marines several times over the past year over whether to open all combat positions to women. In one of the biggest and most public rifts, the Marines asked Mabus to keep front line positions closed to women after a study found women were more likely to get injured and performed worse at infantry jobs.
Despite that, Mabus didn't ask for any positions in the Navy or Marine Corps to remain closed to women in his formal request to the defense secretary.
Hunter previously called for Mabus to resign in September over this incident, saying that the secretary's statements about the impact of gender integration "have created a deep sense of concern for the ability of the Navy Secretary to be objective and to continue leading the Marine Corps."
Mabus' public affairs office did not immediately return a request for comment.