Could be two years until women can train for elite combat
June 17th, 2013
05:43 PM ET

Could be two years until women can train for elite combat

By Barbara Starr

It may be another two years before women can start training for jobs in Army Ranger and Navy SEAL units under plans to be announced by the Pentagon on Tuesday, a Defense Department official familiar with the matter said.

The official declined to be named because the plans are not yet announced.

It is part of the next step in a longstanding effort to open as many combat jobs as possible to women.

The plan now is for jobs in special operations to be available to women possibly in mid-2015.

The official argued the latest development is not a delay, but is more of an acknowledgment by the military that it needs more time to study the issue.

Full implementation of women into combat positions, including infantry and armor units, is to be completed by January 2016.

The military has gradually been opening more jobs to women.

But in January, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ordered all jobs open to women unless a specific "exception" was requested by the military services.

The Pentagon since has been working on plans to implement those orders with the plans expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Baseline physical fitness requirements will continue to vary on the basis of gender and age.

The services are determining job performance standards that everyone equally will have to meet, such as the ability to reload tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons.

This had the impact of now allowing women to serve in frontline Army and Marine combat units, as well as unique jobs such as putting enlisted women on submarines.

In 2012, the Army opened over 14,000 positions to women. The latest move, to be announced Tuesday, could open approximately another 6,000 jobs to women in the Army.

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soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Talk about STANDARDS, funny the author/CNN picked a picture in which the female Marine recruits can't even wear their helmet properly... I don't see a problem with female service members serving in combat MOS but if they lower the standards to accomplish the integration than they are putting lives at risk. There should be one standard and it should be enforced regardless of who is being evaluated.

    June 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  2. massoud

    If the women in the articles picture are our future elite combat soldiers, well ..... .

    June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  3. Ajax

    Having been through Ranger School in the past year. It is going to be interesting to see how they implement change. One of the key tenants of the course is non stop patrolling and continuous operations. We literally dug cat holes and pooped less then 2 feet from our buddies. We had no hygiene besides baby wipes and hand sanitizer, you get only a 1/3 of the calories you need in a day. You have over 100lbs on your back and you walk on a good day only 12 K. You sleep less then 4 hours of sleep. You are always tired and miserable. It grinds you down so much because it is supposed too. It makes warriors that can endure through almost anything. They can move farther, faster and strike the enemy harder then almost any warrior in the world. It is a great course and any standard they lower will directly endanger those future rangers. I am not saying women can't do it, but they should not make it "easy" or give a duel standard.

    June 18, 2013 at 8:43 am | Reply
    • Trent Anderson

      The fact that they will have to have dramatically different standards and training for the women will mean that the overall force will be much weaker, in which defeating the goal of special operations. The facts are in the biology, women can be just as smart if not smarter than men, they can push themselves very hard, but they do not have the Physicality to lug around 100 lbs of gear and complete the high risk operations which Rangers, SEALs and other special forces groups must face.

      June 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  4. Richard Right

    2 years. That must be how long it takes to lower standards to a point where women will qualify

    June 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  5. ?

    generals and such have to always place the mission first, that said select women should be able to serve in those units, just like only select men, those units suffer the highest causalty rates among the military, i was reading that the majority of navy seals who graduate are seasoned vets (marines mostly), the minute you set foot into those training environments they are looking at who they would put into harms way in such a manner, would it be fair to the individuals if they did not screen out those who cannot cut it, that said, where only maybe one in ten men would be selected maybe only 1 in 50 women have what it takes, just like there are male warriors and male soldiers there are female warriors as well

    June 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  6. California

    I say draft women also.

    Equal rights. What's fair is fair.

    June 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • Mike in Wa

      What draft? Hasn't been a draft since Vietnam.

      June 18, 2013 at 4:51 am | Reply
      • George Patton-2

        Nor should there ever be again, Mile in Wa. We Americans, through our own stupidity, drilled it into the heads of our young people that war is fun and games like any other sporting event like hockey or football. We need now to somehow educate them to the contrary!!!

        June 18, 2013 at 7:11 am |
      • Paul

        You did sign up for selective service, did you not?

        June 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  7. George Patton-2

    Good grief, a chance to kill, what a thrill! These trigger happy broads make me sick!!! Contrary to American public opinion, there is absolutely no glory in killing anyone, none at all!!!

    June 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Well said, George. I feel the same way. I too am against needless killing either here or overseas! These broads are disgusting to say the least!

      June 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Please John, these girls are not entirely the blame. They were brought up by ignorant people who believe that our government can do no wrong and war is just another sporting event since none of them are fought here in America. They need to be taught the reality that war is but one thing, bad, bad and bad! Brainwashing here is a terrible thing.

        June 18, 2013 at 7:32 am |

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