Ben Carson campaign Chairman Robert Dees decries 'social engineering' with gays, women in military

Story highlights

  • "Everyone is not good at everything," Dees said
  • The retired Army major general has in the past been outspoken about the nation's military
Watch the complete interview with Ben Carson and his campaign staff at 4 p.m. ET on "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Washington (CNN)Ben Carson's new campaign chairman, retired Major Gen. Robert F. Dees, says it's time for the U.S. to reevaluate military policies like letting women serve in combat positions and allowing openly gay troops to serve.

Carson is debuting his "reinvigorated" campaign after a holiday shakeup that included the departure of a handful of top advisers and new leadership, including the recently promoted Dees, who sat down with Carson for an interview Monday with CNN's Jake Tapper at his Alexandria campaign headquarters.
    The retired Army major general has in the past been outspoken about the nation's military, blasting "social engineering" he contends is degrading the national defense.
    Under President Barack Obama, the military has allowed gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military and opened up all combat positions to women -- who were previously banned from serving in certain roles.
    Dees stood by his criticism Monday, saying "the military is designed to provide for the common defense of our nation."
    "Everyone is not good at everything," Dees said. "We have tried experiments within the military, such as the role of women in combat."
    Dees said while "some women" could perform "certain tasks" in combat, "most" would not be able to carry a sizable male soldier off the battlefield if needed to save his life.
    "There are just certain realities where men can do certain things better, women can do certain things better," Dees said. "We don't need to throw everybody into every position as an experiment just because we're trying to be appear to be fair to everyone."
    As for gays and lesbians serving, Dees said the advice of military experts needs to be taken seriously, and he criticized Obama for disregarding input.
    "The first priority again is cohesion, and the second priority would be that the commander-in-chief listen to the best military advice," Dees said. "The administration has said, 'Do this, do this, do this,' apart from military and defense considerations."
    Carson did not say whether he shares Dees' views, but did suggest he would consider revoking the Obama administration's moves to open the military and combat roles to LGBT troops and women.
    "One of the things that I learned in a long medical career is that you make decisions based on evidence, and not on ideology. So yes, I would be willing to sit down with people from both sides and examine the evidence and make decisions based on what the evidence shows," Carson said.
    He added that he values Dees' foreign policy experience and expertise, and that's why he promoted Dees in his campaign. Carson also cited Dees' ability to "get things done."
    "A lot of my foreign policy expertise is a result of spending time talking to him, as well as a variety of other sources," Carson said.