Navy Secretary Ray Mabus erased any doubt of his plans to open combat jobs to women Monday, telling an audience in Cleveland that he would not be asking for any exceptions to the Jan. 1 integration mandate -- for the Navy or the infantry-heavy Marine Corps.

Days after the Marine Corps released new data showing men outperformed women in a host of combat-related tasks, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus erased any doubt about his plans to open all jobs in the sea services to female troops — including those in the infantry and Navy SEALs.

"Nobody's asking for an exemption in the Navy," Mabus said Monday in a speech to the City Club of Cleveland in Ohio. "...My senior military aide here, Bob Smith, is a SEAL. The SEALs aren't asking for an exemption ... " he said. "I've been pretty clear, and I've been pretty clear about this for a while: I'm not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines."

Mabus went on the offensive last week after the Marine Corps released partial findings from a nine-month experiment comparing the performance of ground combat units with female members to all-male teams ones. In the all-volunteer study, the men all-male control groups consistently outperformed the women mixed-gender ones in speed and accuracy, while female Marines were injured at more than double the rate of their male counterparts.

In a Sept. 11 NPR interview, Mabus alleged the Marines involved in behind the experiment were biased against the idea of women in combat and suggested officials should have picked higher-quality female volunteers to assess.

During his speech, In a speech to the City Club of Cleveland, Mabus made clear that the course was set for gender integration. He Mabus was careful, however, to distance himself from the design and the creation of the Marines' infantry experiment that he has criticized as flawed.

"Nobody's asking for an exemption in the Navy. My senior military aide here, Bob Smith, is a SEAL. The SEALs aren't asking for an exemption," he said. "I've been pretty clear, and I've been pretty clear about this for awhile: I'm not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines." [[moved up, GH]]

The Blue Angels' Lt. Ryan Chamberlain (6) and Nate Barton (4) fly off of the right wing of a KC-135 of the Kansas Air National Guard's 190th Refueling Wing after receiving fuel from it on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, over New Mexico. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
The Blue Angels' Lt. Ryan Chamberlain (6) and Nate Barton (4) fly off of the right wing of a KC-135 of the Kansas Air National Guard's 190th Refueling Wing after receiving fuel from it on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, over New Mexico. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

"I knew about this study, of course, but I don't reach down and say, 'do this kind of study, do that kind of study,'" he said. "That came up from the Marine operating forces."

The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph Dunford, has been far more reticent about his own opinions regarding women in combat, saying in the past that he wanted to evaluate study data before making a decision. But Mabus plans to have the final say. He told Navy Times earlier this month that the way forward on integrating combat units was "my call." [[Moving down]]

In his address Monday, Mabus was careful, however, to distance himself from the design and the creation of the Marines' infantry experiment that he has criticized as flawed. [[Moved this and the next quote up. GH]]

"I knew about this study of course, but I don't reach down and say, 'do this kind of study, do that kind of study,'" he said. "That came up from the Marine operating forces."

Mabus said the Marine Corps' study pointed to a need for gender-neutral, job-specific standards for each combat specialty. That the average woman couldn't perform some infantry jobs, he said, was irrelevant.

"We're not looking for average," he said. "There were women that met this standard, and a lot of the things there that women fell a little short in can be remedied by two things: training and leadership."

The creation of job entry standards would keep the Marine Corps from losing any of its strength or lethality on the battlefield, Mabus said. He also asserted that a force including women would be a stronger force, because it was more diverse. The Marines' infantry experiment illustrated some ways that men and women act differently, he suggested.

"Women got injured a lot or more than men on duty. Men got injured four times as much as women off duty. So, we've got these knuckleheads who are, 'here, hold my beer and watch this,' " Mabus said. "So, do we keep men from being in the infantry because they get hurt so much off duty? I don't think so."

Marine Commandant The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph Dunford, has been far more reticent about his own opinions regarding women in combat ahead of the Jan. 1 deadline to open all jobs to female Marines, saying in the past that he wanted to evaluate study data before making a decision. But Mabus plans to have the final say, telling . He told Military Times earlier this month that the way forward on integrating combat units is "my call."

Mabus has received heavy criticism for his disparagement of the Marine Corps' infantry experiment. Female Marine volunteers task force volunteers told the Washington Post that the Navy secretary "threw us under the bus" by suggesting that the study was flawed and the participants not fit enough.

And Sgt. Maj. Justin LeHew, a Navy Cross recipient and the senior enlisted Marine for the Corps' Training and Education Command, slammed Mabus in a lengthy post on Facebook, calling his comments "counter to the interests of national security and unfair to the women who participated in this study."

The Marine Corps plans to release more data from its women-in-combat study later this month.