Panel: Let women serve in combat roles

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Just_A_Mom, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/12/military-women-combat-120710w/

    To sum this up - women do NOT lack the physical ability to perform; integration will not affect unit cohesion; women are not more likely than men to have mental health problems (was this even a consideration???). Yet - preventing females from serving in combat roles reduces their career opportunities.

    A win for women. A loss for the good old boy network.
    Of course, John McCain will want a poll from all male soldiers before deciding :wink:
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Yea, anyone who thinks there might be a problem, must be a sexist "good ol boy". Personally, I have no problem with women in combat roles. There's a lot of men in combat roles that would love to not have to deploy more than women. But all that aside, I would have one requirement.

    ANY requirements that are currently in place for men, to be in a certain career field, must be met by ALL individuals applying. Obviously infantry, and certain other combat roles, don't have any specialized requirements. As such, I see absolutely no problem with women serving in these capacities. However: If for example, a women wants to be a Navy Seal, then she would needs to meet 100%, all requirements that a man must meet to become a Navy Seal. e.g. http://www.baseops.net/basictraining/navyseals/fitness.html lists the "basic" physical fitness requirements of a navy seal. NONE OF THIS MODIFYING standards for women. If one of the requirements is a 4 mile run, in boots, in 32 minutes or less, then that's the standard for all. Women and men. The 2 mile ocean swim in 95 minutes. That should be the standard for all. If you change the standard for women; especially a standard that's been in place for decades; then the woman isn't being treated equal, and shouldn't be allowed in that career field.

    This applies across the board. If there are any physical, mental, academic, etc... requirements that men have had to abide by in order to be in that career field, then the woman must meet exactly all the same requirements or she isn't allowed to be in that career field.

    A quote I heard years ago, and took a while to find it again:

     
  3. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    If this does happen I think that they should even out the standards. Women shouldn’t have to get 1 pull up while men need 8 (just made up some random numbers, as an example of what is happening. They are NOT the real ones). If women serve it should be because they are qualified. They will get the same opportunities they get the same challenges and roadblocks men face. I just don’t want women, or men to die because an under-qualified passed because of lower standards.

    Don’t take this as sexist, because it isn’t. It is a FACT women have lower required amounts of pushups, mile times etc. For example for a 100 score on the US Army PT test they need 71 push-ups for women they need a 42. They should both be 71 regardless of career, combat or not.

    Women: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/army/l/blfitfem17to21.htm
    Men: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/army/l/blfitmale17to21.htm


    Opps, was writing the same time as Christcorp.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Exactly. :thumb:
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    When it comes to physical standards, the issue IMO is whether certain standards are needed to perform the job or whether they are intended to demonstate physical fitness.

    If, in order to perform a certain function (e.g., SEAL, fire artillery, etc.), a person needs to have a certain level of, say, upper body strength and the measure of that level is 10 pullups, then anyone performing that task should meet that requirement -- man or woman.

    If, however, the goal is to be physically fit, the standards should be different, and here's why. I don't think you'll find anyone who would argue that the winner of the women's marathan or the 100m freestyle swim in the Olympics is less fit than her male counterpart winner. Yet, they don't compete against each other b/c the fastest male will be faster than the fastest female. Biology and anatomy.

    The fact is that, with some exceptions, the requirement for physical strength in the military is not what it once was. Where there are such requirements, they need to be enforced regardless of gender. Where these are nice ideas but not requirements to accomplish the mission, they should be eliminated or modified.
     
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Then you are asking the female to be more fit than her male counterpart. Under your theory, men and women should compete against each other in track & field because there should be one standard. But they don't.

    The fact is that fitness tests in the military are designed to measure fitness, not the ability to perform specific tasks. An equally fit woman will, due to anatomy and biology, run slower and have less upper body strength than her male counterparts. That's not to say that some women can't outrun guys or do more pushups than guys. But, in that case, the odds are that she is more fit than the male.

    Also, under your theory, everyone should meet the same standard regardless of age. At least in the USN, you get more time on the run and have to do fewer pullups and situps at age 40-49 than at age 20-29. Why? Because most people, even if they work out like fiends, start to slow down and lose strength as they age (after a certain point). If you don't believe that, consider why there aren't many men and women in their 40s and older playing professional sports.

    This argument has been trotted out for years as a reason for excluding women from roles they are well suited to perform. I will agree that there are some roles that the overwheming majority of women can't physically handle. SEALs/Rangers might be among them. If so few women can meet the standard that it doesn't make sense to integrate that service, I'm ok with that. But let's evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and ensure that the physical strength and speed are really needed not just left over from the way things were done in the 1940s.
     
  8. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    I still think the minimum requirements should be the same. If a women cant keep up with the rest of her male SEAL team, should she be kept because women standards are lower. What if there is a male keeping back the rest of a SEAL team of females (if they are allowed in SEALs) will he be kept? No, they are a TEAM, they work together and are only as strong as the weakest member. They won’t just say “I don’t want to die, keep up or you can stay behind,” they will stay and help him/her. But I do believe the purpose of minimum fitness is to weed out the truly unfit. For instance a person who can’t do a 25m under water swim, can’t be a seal. If they are going to integrate soldiers, integrate training such as BUD/S, or the Pipeline for PJ/CRO’s. If there is sexism, it is there, and will be in the field. If they cant handle being treated the same as men back home, how will they deal with it in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Mainly if she can preform her job well, she can accept her position in a male dominated world. She can join. BUT if she can’t deal with being an equal, that means taking the same mental AND physical “abuse” (for lack of a better word) in training. Why should she be let in to fight along men? If they are equal let them be truly equal, don’t just say you are allowed to serve along men, with lower standards, and easier training.

    I’ll serve with a women, given she can carry the same load as every body else, and she will not hold anybody back.

    Bullets won’t discriminate between the skin of a male to a female, nor should our training and standards.
     
  9. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    Why shouldn't a woman be allowed to take the same roles as a man. I have no problem with equlaity. There are women at all the academies, they are receiving the same education and benefits my son is receiving yet my son can be put in a combat situation because he is a man. Sorry, if women want true equality, then give them the opportunity to do what the boys do.
    If a woman wants Marine Infantry, then put an M-16 in her hands and let her go out with the guys. An M-16 only weighs 6 pounds or so. As long as they can do what the boys do, I have no problem. I would not want my daughter to lose opportunities because she was born a girl.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't think anyone disagrees that they should be allowed to serve, but some have a reservation of being in combat with someone who has a lower fitness standard. Do you want your arse being shot at, but because she gets to run slower, you need to stay behind longer?

    I for one believe that if they want to be in combat than they should perform at the same level. Bullet flew a 2 seater fighter, women fly fighters. Here's the rub, when you have a 6'4 210 lb guy, it is not easy for a 5'6 130 lb girl to pull them out of the wash unconcious. Both members must pass fitness tests, but that 5'6 guy will be expected to pass at the same level as the 6'4 guy. The 5'6 girl is not required to pass at that level.

    This is wrong to me because others lives may depend on you performing that physical act.

    If you want to play with the boys, than you should be allowed to play with them, but you shouldn't say I still want you to think of me as a girl when I need it for my advantage.
     
  11. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    Couldn’t have said it better!
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I understand all the arguments here (and particularly like/agree with usna1985). All lot of this is speculation too. Pima, logically I agree with you on the size difference. Have these things been tested? Panels and smart people around a table a good and all, but has empirical testing been done. I'm inclined to agree that a 5'6" female will have trouble pulling bullet out (Bullet, you wear your retirement 15 well! :D:D). I think some testing is truly in order. Take females that are fit based on their standard and have them do some ruck marches, simulate pulling out a 220 pound person out of the water, etc. Figure out what is really necessary and modify the standards in each specialty to match what is necessary. Perhaps a small female is able x% of the time to pull out a 220 lb person if she does y well on parts of fitness tests. Or keep fitness tests how they are and use practical testing! Have people simulate key scenarios like pulling your wingman out of the jet, carrying a ruck and dragging a fellow soldier out of harms way, etc. SEALs test for their specific environment, Marine tests simulate combat endurance, etc. I want to see a test study run to see what the real, empiricle results are. We can speculate all we want and argue either way. How about some real life tests to prove what is true?
     
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yeah, so? The military is a not a job corps. It does not exist to give everyone a career. Lack of career opportunities is a meaningless argument.

    Combat roles exist for one overarching reason, and that is to mete out wholesale destruction against the enemies of our nation, not to make people into generals and ensure they get a 20-year paycheck.
     
  14. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    I have several hundred hours of flying at sea with women in the cockpit with me. Never once did the thought cross my mind that if we went in the water that my copilot would not be able to rescue me. Ditching procedures are to get oneself clear of the aircraft as quickly as possible. One is lucky if they can save themselves, much less anyone else. I suppose just as valid an argument would be that I would have a much better chance rescuing a 5'4" 120lb female than a 6'4" 250lb guy. It's just not a factor. Fixed wing aircraft crash on an airfield. There are a bunch of weird looking guys in asbestos suits running around to rescue these aircrew. Probably, again, the smaller the rescuee the better the odds of survival. I therefore propose a new standard, all military aircrew personnel must be 5'6" or less in height and weigh less than 140lbs.

    Overland helo ops is the only place where this argument contains any merit whatsoever and there are usually enlisted crewmen in the aircraft to assist in this effort.
     
  15. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    We are saying the same thing -- I think. If a standard is needed to be a SEAL, everyone should meet it. However, if the standard is arbitrary and unrelated to mission accomplishment, then it shouldn't be set so as to disenfranchise women.

    I fully agree that, if a SEAL needs to be able to run 4 miles in combat boots in the sand in 30 mins (I'm making up a time here) and a woman can't do it, she shouldn't be a SEAL. And it may be that so few women can meet such a criteria that SEALs shouldn't be open to women.

    However, if you said that, to be submariner you need to run 4 miles in combat boots int the sand in 30 mins, that would appear to be arbitrary. Submariners, like all members of the military, need to be in good physical shape. They don't generally have to endure the same physical demands on a daily basis as SEALs.

    In my view, the standard should be based on the mission and everyone should meet that standard. If the standard is one of fitness, the way that standard is implemented may well be different for men and women.
     
  16. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    I agree. I guess I didn’t fully understand what you said in the first place.
    However I think this applies regardless of women being in combat roles. We don’t need physicists doing 2000 meter swims to be qualified, clearly and exaggeration but it gets the point across.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Those dimensions don't apply to you....do they?

    Can you consider a Navy helo as "combat" or are you speaking in generalities?


    Less than 140 lbs? Not sure if I've met a squid that small....even an airdale one.
     
  18. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Okay. But..... the US Military cannot be arbirtary and capricious when determining who is eligible to serve and who is not and at what rank.

    For instance, they can't decide that black men can't be officers because white enlisted men would not accept their lead. They can't decide that black men can't acheive a rank of O-6 or higher because there are enough white men that are very capable of holding those ranks.

    What the panel is saying is --- all the prior arguments for denying females combat roles are out. They no longer hold water. Therefore, the service is arbitrarily denying females promotion opportunities (as a group) simply because they are female.

    To take this one step further - by denying females promotion opportunities there is talent lost. Talent lost from significant group that could make the military better. Therefore - denying females combat roles based on their gender could actually be hurting the military.
     
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Why must they have prior combat roles to be promoted? Why not change the promotion criteria?

    What rank haven't they achieved due to not having served in a forward infantry unit or an armor battalion?

    Is some female 3-star somehow being denied a higher rank because she has not been in combat?
     
  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Or it could be helping the military.
     

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