Ellen Haring is a retired Army colonel and senior fellow at Women in International Security. Col Haring has been in many publications trying to equate the battle of equal rights for women with opportunity in a combat unit.
On October 1, 2015–when exception requests are due to the Secretary of Defense–the Marines will request to keep thousands of infantry positions closed to women. Rather than use the three years to figure out how to best recruit and integrate some badass women the Marines have used their time to develop data to justify a request for an exception. Here is what they have done.
If the Marines do in fact go forward with an exception request they will find themselves not just on the wrong side of history writ large but on the wrong side of their own 238-year history. The Marines are known for being an adaptive, innovative, and resilient force that performs well given any mission. After all, it was the Marines who first used women as “Lionesses” in Iraq and later pioneered the use of Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan.
Unfortunately Colonel (Ret.) Ellen Haring is somewhat overstating what the USMC is and isn't doing differently from the other services. The USMC implemented an integration plan at the same time all the other services did. It's attached.
Also current pre ranger School assessment stats as of a few days ago are:
From the Ranger School advisory committee:
RTAC 1 and 2 222 Students in-processed 29-Active 179-ARNG 3-USAF 7-IMSO (International) 179 Men 43 Women 91 Men were dropped 20 Women were dropped
26 Women started RTAC 1 (29 Males dropped for standards) 1 Woman LOMd (9 Males dropped) 8 Women MED Dropped (4 Males dropped) 1 Women dropped for Serious Observation report (1 Male Dropped) Of the 16 that remained in training 5 graduated 20/26 women failed the push-ups Comment from O/A: "Once the rucksack was introduced the performance degraded rapidly."
17 Women started RTAC 2 5 Women dropped for standards (36 Males dropped) 3 Women LOMd (8 Males dropped) 2 Women MED Dropped (3 Males dropped) Of the 7 remaining in training 1 will graduate 15/17 Women failed the push-ups
Quick math for the numbers challenged: in the first two classes, 43 women showed, 4 were LOM drops (quit), 10 med drops, 1 SOR drop. 35 of the 43 failed pushups. 6 of the 43 met all RTAC standards and graduated. RUMINT says one of those has VW from attending the Ranger Course.
Two more classes are between now and the test class.
#811 - 02/25/1512:00 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
It just really seems to me that this integration plan is going to backfire, I don't believe they are going to get the results that they want. This game of political correctness has already made a negative impact on the military, and performing social expirements when it comes to our national defense is a very foolish gamble. I'm in no way sexist, but I highly doubt this will produce an amount of female operators (if any) that will make the program worth. Let's be realistic, women are just not as strong as men. That's not going to change.
#812 - 02/25/1512:47 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
It just really seems to me that this integration plan is going to backfire, ...
It depends on how it is done concerning (1) entry classification human performance requirements, (2) retention of classification human performance criteria, and (3) combat mission ready/mission ready human performance criteria.
The above correlates to (1) entry job placement and entry level to to do the job, (2) career being there doing the job competently with productivity, and (3) not only being reliably and dependably there day-to-day doing the job, but being available with no or minimal notice to do it far from home for lengthy period (weeks, months) of time under significantly less than favorable working conditions.
Originally Posted By: Jay_Pew
Let's be realistic, women are just not as strong as men. That's not going to change.
Well there are a lot of girly boys and girly men out there who are neither athletic or physical fit. While general assertion can be made women just are not as strong as men there are quite a few women that are stronger, more athletic, and more physically fit than the 80% of men that fail to complete PJ Development or PJ Indoc for whatever reason. This however is why the once trained and qualified human performance standards become a concern.
#820 - 02/27/1501:14 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
Yukon, whats your thought on the female soldiers of the"cultural support teams." My understanding is that they have not only been successful, but have filled a critical gap in security and HUMINT in SOF combat operations.
Originally Posted By: Jay_Pew
...women are just not as strong as men. That's not going to change.
If there is one thing that has been drilled into me by everyone that I have had the pleasure of learning from and working with in my pursuit of being a want-to-be cone, physical strength is not a predictor of success in any selection course, it's only a factor.
there are women out there that are frankly as strong if not stronger than most men. case in point :
considering that she's 114 lbs and she's deadlifting 130k (286lbs w/0 bar, so total about 311lbs) thats a pretty substantial strength to body weight ratio. If thats not enough heres a video of a 13 yr old girl benching 240 lbs raw.
Last edited by cloyd; 02/27/1501:21 PM.
#821 - 02/27/1503:08 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
but have filled a critical gap in security and HUMINT in SOF combat operations.
Well first off HUMINT is a wide or broad range of activities. As far as HUMINT gathering goes there is strategic gathering and tactical gathering. There is no demarcation between conventional and special operations Intel gathering.
Secondly, although the culture support teams were in the field, the connecting of such activities to SOF combat Operations is significantly misleading as use of special operations forces (SOF) suggests at minimum the activates were/are covert and clandestine in nature and suggest more highly trained and skilled than other Intel personnel. To the best of my awareness there were no participation in covert and/or clandestine small tactical team deep penetration commando/ranger (long range reconnaissance or raid)into areas of high enemy combatant strongholds.
Further there is exaggeration connected to actual engaging the enemy as member of the fire team or combat patrol. While successful in community affairs and public relations with the indigenous female and juvenile population demographics the HUMINT gathered is not in public domain to determine its usefulness strategically (in the future) and tactically (team, patrol avoiding imminent ambush or IED). I'm willing to wager the effectiveness of the culture support team getting such info real time for immediate use had minimal usefulness.
There is a lot of exaggeration and embellishment put out about the female being there contribution to the culture support activities. Word is more than a few of the gals didn't complete a full tour for various reasons to include pregnancy. The situation of got to only tell the good about the gals on the culture support teams is similar to the Air Force general who stated anybody supporting the A-10 who talked to Congress is a traitor. General: Praising the A-10 to Lawmakers is ‘Treason’
The human performance necessary to perform certain duties, jobs, activities doesn't directly correlate to strength and how fast and far a person can swim or run. If you have read anything I've ever posted about PAST and occupational fitness standards I consistently stated 10 year old boys and girls can meet and exceed the PAST and occupational fitness criteria but still lack the human performance capabilities necessary to do the tasks and duties safely with reasonable chance of survivability.
Further military combat mission readiness and individual combat readiness is about individual and numbers of trained and qualified individual available for utilization at a moments notice. Some units have a 50% combat readiness criteria and other units have a 100% combat readiness criteria. Most Air Force specialties lack a combat readiness requirements whereas others like pararesscue requires each individual awarded the AFSC to be combat mission ready at all times regardless of unit or organization of assignment.
Thus getting through the training actually means nothing if most of the time after training is connected to duty limitations and duty restrictions connected to medical conditions. Pregnancy by the way is a 15 month almost complete restriction and limitation to performing pararescue duties.
The US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer program has the clearest policy disclosure of the 15 month medical removal from duties example.
Any RS, whose operational training requirements are not met, is not permitted to function as a helicopter rescue swimmer and may forfeit SDAP. An RS that has not maintained their physical fitness due to leave, TAD, night check, medical grounding, etc., for 30 days or more must pass the monthly physical training (PT) screen exam prior to performing the duties of an operational RS.
Any RS failing to complete the monthly physical training screen exam due to leave, temporary assigned duty (TAD), night check, medical grounding, etc., is not authorized to stand duty or deploy as an operational RS until the physical training screen exam is completed. If grounding exceeds the 15 month period of the RS’s current standardization check, they must complete an RS standardization check to include physical training screen exam with a local Flight Examining Board (FEB) member or an ATC Mobile evaluator prior to performing the duties of an operational RS.
Any RS that fails the monthly physical training screen exam for three consecutive months will be placed on performance probation IAW COMDTINST 1000.6
Physical Training Screen Exam Standards. (Table 3-2)
Shoulder Width Push-ups --- 50 (2-minute time limit)
Sit-ups ---- 60 (2-minute time limit)
Pull-ups --- 5 (No time limit)
Chin-ups ---- 5 (No time limit)
Crawl Swim --- 500 yards (12-minute time limit)
Underwater Swim --- 25 yards, repeat four times with 60seconds rest between swims
Buddy Tow --- 200 yards
The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer program policy of "requiring a physical training screen exam" mirror policy in place for pararescue since 1947.
At the moment only TACP is the only AFSC having an assignment limitation code criteria put forth in AFECD. This policy has some implication to more favorably allowing for 15 month or longer medical disqualification. Pararescue policy since 1947 has generally been 6-months loss of combat mission readiness due to substandard performance caused by a medical duty limitation-restriction or occupation-specific fitness assessment generally indicates a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) or other Review Board be convened to consider retention of AFSC or removal of AFSC actions.
TACP AECD classification description:
220.127.116.11. Must maintain eligibility to deploy and mobilize worldwide. Personnel with an Assignment Limitation Code of C-1 or C-2 may retain AFSC 1C4X1 as long as they are capable of successfully completing all core tasks in the 1C4X1 Career Field Education and Training Plan.
C-Codes C-1 is the least restrictive code. C-1 coded Airmen can move to any continental United States assignment, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Hawaii, without a waiver. A C-1 coded Airman may also move to most overseas bases without a waiver, as long as those bases have a fixed medical treatment facility, Green said. However, a waiver is required for a move to locations with limited care, such as Korea, Lajes Field, Azores; Eielson AFB, Alaska; Moron Air Base, Spain, and to deployed locations.
C-2 is more restrictive, but permanent change of station and deployment options remain numerous, Green said.
"C-2s can go anywhere in the continental United States, Hawaii and Elmendorf without a waiver, but assignments to Eielson AFB, Alaska, overseas assignments and deployments require a waiver approved by the gaining major command surgeon general," Dr. Green explained. Waiver approval for C-2 Airmen is relatively common, though."
C-3 is the most restrictive code, but members with a C-3 can still move to any CONUS base, Hawaii, or Elmendorf without a waiver, she said. To get a waiver to any other location or to deploy, a line general officer, wing commander or civilian equivalent must endorse the request, certifying that the member is essential for mission accomplishment and is the only member qualified and available for the job.
The 15 months is not actually just for pregnancy, it's for all temporary and permanent duty limiting medical profiles. "Duty limitations will indicate what the member cannot do based on their current occupational duties with resultant mobility and/or fitness restrictions if appropriate. (T-2) The maximum allowable duration of the AF Form 469 following RILO or MEB is 15 months." [AFI 10-203]
18.104.22.168. Duty limitations associated with pregnancy may require temporary removal from certain AFSC duties. Retraining will not be required.
22.214.171.124. Members will be exempted from FA during pregnancy. Members with pregnancies lasting 20 weeks or more are also exempt from FA for 180 days after completion of pregnancy (delivery, miscarriage, etc.). Pregnancy-related exemptions are only for the FA and do not exclude the member from participating in an EP/FPM-approved physical fitness program. EP will counsel pregnant members on maintaining fitness during pregnancy (in coordination with Obstetrician). This can be done individually or in a group setting.
A to full term pregnancy is 9-months plus 180 days (6 months) results in the 15 month duty limitation as the occupational fitness assessment (Pararescue, Combat Control, Special Operations Weather) must be successfully accomplished before being certified fit to be put into requalification training that typically takes 3-6 months too. Thus loss of individual combat readiness or mission readiness is at least 18 months (1.5 years).
4.13. Restrictions for USAF Military Personnel During Pregnancy and Profiles.
4.13.1. Duty Restriction Recommendations: Duty restriction recommendations are made by the patient’s obstetrical healthcare provider, working with Public Health personnel, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Aerospace Medicine and the patient’s supervisor. The obstetrical healthcare provider:
126.96.36.199. Recommends restricted duty for active duty pregnant personnel based on the patient’s work environment and the patient’s overall medical condition.
188.8.131.52. Documents the duty restrictions on AF Form 469, Duty Limiting Condition Report, and forwards the form to the Force Health Management section. A profile officer in either Flight Medicine or Occupational Medicine will ensure that the occupational hazards affecting pregnancy have been addressed in the restrictions, and that the member’s mobility status is changed, disqualifying the member from deployment. Refer to AFI 10-203, Duty Limiting Conditions, and AFI 36-2110, Assignments, for details.
184.108.40.206. The mobility restriction will remain in effect until the completion of any post-pregnancy convalescent leave. Force Health Management will ensure the appropriate duty restrictions are sent to the member’s unit. Duty restrictions are based upon the recommendations of the attending provider and must include specifics such as specific tasks that are not to be performed, contaminated areas or places of increased exposure risk, number of hours to be worked in a week, the number of specific hours per day or shift the member can work and if the member is restricted to a specific shift. The member’s unit and the member are responsible for notifying the respective unit deployment manager (UDM) of the medical condition.
220.127.116.11. In all cases, the duty restriction shall attempt to balance the patient’s medical needs with the rights of the military member to fully participate in unit activities.
18.104.22.168. When the obstetrical healthcare provider is a civilian, recommendations will be reviewed by a military medical provider (PCM) through the Force Health Management section, who will make a final duty recommendation to the military member and her supervisor via AF Form 469.
22.214.171.124. If the pregnancy terminates early, then the AF Form 469 should be modified as clinically appropriate. See AFI 36-2905, Fitness Program, for additional details.
#906 - 03/13/1501:49 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James is reiterating her desire to open up the Air Force's seven remaining male-only career fields to women, as part of the Women in Service Review plan.
"[Chief of Staff Gen. Mark] Welsh and I are very, very like-minded on this," James said in a March 4 address at the Center for a New American Security. "Our position is that we need gender-neutral, job-relevant standards to be in place. And then these positions need to open. And boy, the burden of proof will be heavy on any recommendation to keep any of these positions closed once we have gender-neutral, job-relevant standards in place. We're very much leaning forward on this, so stay tuned to that."
[AIR FORCE TIMES- Air Force secretary's diversity plan will mean quotas, critics say]
Those seven jobs — roughly 4,300 positions — represent some of the most highly trained and elite battlefield airmen jobs:
13C special tactics officers: These officers conduct reconnaissance or surveillance of potential airfields and assault zones, and provide air traffic control services for airfields and assault zones.
13D combat rescue officers: These officers deploy into combat areas and are responsible for rescuing and recovering injured service members.
15WXC special operations weather officers and 1W0X2 special operations weather enlisted: These officers and enlisted airmen work with special operations units in combat zones to provide weather information to help execute missions.
1C2 combat control: These enlisted airmen direct air traffic in combat zones while alerting pilots and command to the location of hostile forces on the ground. They sometimes parachute in to hostile areas.
1C4 Tactical Air Control Party: These enlisted specialists call in airstrikes while embedded with Army and Marine units.
1T2 pararescue: These enlisted airmen get to wounded troops in hostile areas, provide emergency trauma, and get the wounded to safety when they can't be immediately recovered by aircraft.
An eighth job, 13L air liaison officers, is technically open to women. But because air liaison officers often work with the male-only Army's 75th Ranger Regiment, said Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Brooke Brzozowske, many of those jobs are effectively off limits to women. The Air Force's online database said there are currently two women female air liaison officers, and 173 men in that field.
Brzozowske said Sec. James will send Defense Secretary Ash Carter her recommendations on opening up the remaining male-only jobs. On or about Jan. 1, 2016, the Defense Department will make recommendations to Congress on opening up these jobs, which Congress will then choose to act on or not, Brzozowske said.
The process is more complicated than simply decreeing these jobs are open to women, Brzozowske said. The Air Force also has to figure out how it will recruit for these jobs, how to ensure academy cadets know they are open to women, and set other details.
#907 - 03/13/1502:38 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
Not Air Force related, but I heard that earlier in the week, the Army officially announced that they will recommend NOT opening up the Rangers to women. Someone please correct me if Im wrong but I'm pretty sure they are the first group to actually reject the implementation of women in a career field.
#908 - 03/13/1504:19 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
I heard that earlier in the week, the Army officially announced that they will recommend NOT opening up the Rangers to women.
In what bathroom stall with who doing what or in what crack house getting stoned with who?
The official Army policy has not changed since 19 April 2013. The official recommendation by the way would be coming from USSOCOM to the Secretary of the Army. USSOCOM will not be limiting recommendation to only assignment of women at 75th Ranger Regiment in ranger positions.
There is also no Ranger military occupation. It is a Special Qualification Identifier (SQI) added to Army MOSs. US Army Ranger is neither a military career field or a military occupation.
There is two ways for a Army service member to obtain the Ranger SQI.
The first (since 1952) is to attend and successfully complete the Ranger School. Doesn't result in assignment into a 75th Ranger Regiment duty assignment as a Ranger.
The second (since 1974) is get an assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment by successfully completing the 75th Ranger Regiment's Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP). FYI, during WWII and Korean War the becoming a ranger was assessment and training for assignment in a Ranger unit to perform ranger (commando) type raids and other such long range penetration behind enemy lines type activities. The Rangers of the Korean War were not utilized to do such raids for reasons of insurgent forces being used for such operations.
The two-and-a-half year period in which the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course became gender-integrated for research will end without a single female graduate.
The final iteration of IOC to accept female Marines on a volunteer basis began April 2 with two female participants. One was a volunteer and one was a member of the newly integrated ground intelligence track.
Both were dropped that same day during the grueling initial Combat Endurance Test, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps. Nine of the 90 men who began the course were also cut.
IOC, held quarterly at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, began accepting female officers fresh out of training in September 2012 as part of a larger research effort into the feasibility of opening ground combat jobs to women. Lieutenants who made it through the legendarily tough 86-day course would not receive an infantry military occupational specialty or career advancement; they did it only for the challenge and the hope of being part of a historical Marine Corps achievement.
But as the research continued, few volunteers took advantage of the opportunity. By July 2014, only 20 female officers had attempted the course. Only one made it through the Combat Endurance Test, and none made it to the end.
In an effort to achieve their goal of 100 female volunteers cycling through IOC, the Marine Corps opened the course to female company-grade officers in October 2014, making hundreds more Marines eligible for the course. The Corps also began requiring that volunteers get a first-class score on the male version of the service's Physical Fitness Test in an effort to better prepare them for the rigors of IOC.
The effort was a mixed success. In the October iteration of IOC, three of the seven female volunteers made it through the Combat Endurance Test, bringing the total number of women to pass the test to four. Two of those who passed the test were captains from the fleet. As time passed, no influx of volunteers materialized, however.
The testing period ends with just 27 female volunteers having attempted the course. Two other female officers also attempted the course as part of required ground intelligence officer training. The 0203 ground intelligence officer military occupational specialty was opened to female officers in late 2013, with IOC as a qualification requirement for applicants. None of the 29 female officers made it to the end of the course.
While IOC is closing to volunteers, female applicants for ground intelligence officer positions will continue to attend the course in the future, Krebs said.
Officials have said that ongoing research will consider many aspects of temporarily integrating IOC, including the number of volunteers, their pass rate, and performance in the course. That data will be taken alongside other research points, including the much higher success rate for enlisted female Marines in passing the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As of February, 358 women had attempted the course, with 122 graduates, for a pass rate of 34 percent.
Also considered will be data generated from the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which is conducting assessments with male and female troops in a variety of infantry specialties now on the West Coast. All this information will be compiled this summer and used to inform Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford's recommendation to the secretary of Defense on whether or not to open remaining ground combat units to female troops.
A decision is expected from the Pentagon early next year.
#1052 - 04/21/1506:32 PMRe: Women joining Air Force Special Operations Units, your thoughts?
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- In April 2015, the Air Force will begin conducting the physical evaluations required to explore opening the last six career fields currently closed to women.
When the law prohibiting women in ground combat roles was rescinded, 99 percent of the positions within the Air Force were already inclusive of women. The current study is working to open the last 1 percent, which amounts to a little more than 4,300 special operations positions.
“Ultimately, the initiative to eliminate any remaining gender-based assignment restrictions will improve our readiness and the Air Force’s ability to recruit and retain the most effective and qualified force,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.
The Air Force has conducted focus groups, assessments, and operational observations as part of the review and implementation plan directed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in June 2013. The thorough review required to meet the directive by Hagel, allowed the Air Force to review standards for all Airmen in the career fields previously restricted to women.
“The Air Force is using a scientific approach to directly tie and validate standards to mission requirements,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, director of Military Force Management Policy. “This testing and evaluation phase will develop the final physical test components that best predict operational success for these specific career fields.”
The testing is slated to take place at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Approximately 200 male and female volunteers will be recruited for the testing. Local Airmen from the Lackland area who are interested in participating will be the first selected to participate.
“This effort marks the most stringent process yet by which we are developing occupationally specific physical standards, scientifically measured against operational requirements to match mission needs,” Kelly said. “All the services and United States Special Operations Command are working with various scientific and research agencies to review occupational standards to ensure they are specific and current, operationally relevant and are gender neutral.”
“This is not about raising or lowering occupational standards,” said Kelly. “The key is to ensure we have set the right standards for the occupation based on mission requirements. The effort is built upon science and experience, to ensure we continue to maintain our readiness and preserve the quality and capability of our All Volunteer Force.”
"This process is about scientifically measuring operational requirements with a focus on training and standards which correlate to the demands of combat,” said Brig. Gen. Giovanni K. Tuck, director of operations. “We owe it to our Airmen we send downrange to make sure they've got the best training and equipment to be successful, no matter where they serve."
After the Air Force reviews and validates the scientifically based standards, James will coordinate her recommendation on currently closed career fields and positions with SOCOM and the other services.
"The science behind these standards will inform and further refine the measures used to find the right people for these career fields. This validation will help ensure our Air Force remains ready and capable, as our battlefield Airmen employs in combat," Tuck said.
The secretary of Defense is expected to announce final decisions regarding integration of currently closed career fields/positions, as well as, any exceptions to policy on or about January 1, 2016. The assignment of women into newly integrated positions and occupations will follow each service’s natural timeline for recruitment, accession and training.
Further information for Lackland-area Airmen interested in participating in the physical studies will be released from Air Force Education and Training Command.