Women Don't Belong in Ranger School - Stephen Kilcullen

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by scoutpilot, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Interesting read...


    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577448821376681662.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
     
  2. AJM7680

    AJM7680 Banned

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    As a complete outsider to both the Army and Ranger school but as someone experienced in leadership challenges in a totally physically and mentally exhausting environment, I only have one observation/question. Are the physical and mental challenges inherent to Ranger School the desired end results or are they simply a method of preparing the students to participate in the more demanding leadership exercises? And if they are a means, rather than an end, and men and women are physically different, would it be detrimental to the overall mission accomplishment if there were different methods to prep them for these leadership exercises?
     
  3. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Mr. Kilcullen makes some good points. (IMHO, he also makes a bad point in his thought piece when he brings up the "mission first, team next, self last" discussion into his argument. A female Ranger won't be able to feel this way as well?)

    But ultimately it doesn't matter. It's going to happen anyway, whether current or former Rangers like it or not. The real leadership challenge here for the Ranger community is to incorporate women into their ranks while ensuring the least impact to the mission.

    They're Rangers. I KNOW they'll find a way....
     
  4. AscoreD

    AscoreD Member

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    Well IMPO, if women are allowed to go to ranger school then they should be held to the same standards as the men. The attrition rate will be high, but those who forge through the course with the men would be able to show that "we do not need different standards just because we are atomically built differently"

    Article: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/06/army-female-sappers-forge-path-women-combat-062412/

    Quote: “I think it is absolutely imperative that … absolutely nothing changes about the standard of performance,” Hannenberg said. “If you at all cheapen the value of that tab in the eyes of anyone who’s earned it or who earns it in the future, you are doing a great disservice to the legacy of the Rangers and to the legacy of women.”

    Earning the Ranger tab “won’t mean a thing” if women are allowed to earn it under lower standards, she said.

    In the Sapper Leader Course, “there has been no change to the expected performance of graduates,” she said. “In Sapper school, the [physical training] test is the male, 17-21 [years old] standard regardless of what is between your legs.”
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    It's a nice sentiment that reads well in an article, but the political realities of it are much tougher. I can foresee the pressures on an RI who fails the first female for poor pushup form being unreal.
     
  6. pilot2b

    pilot2b Candidate Appointee

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    That wasn't what the author meant by that. He was trying to show that if the primary reason women would be allowed into Ranger School is for political correctness rather than to aid in better accomplishing the mission, that is wrong. The author didn't state that women couldn't serve selflessly.
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Scoutpilot has this right.

    Ranger School isn't about "mission" or "selfless service" or any of the rest- if it were clearly there would be no issue with women attending. It isn't really even a tactical school. It is a leadership school for small unit infantry leaders (and others when there are slots available) and it teaches two things: How to function and lead small units under the most grueling conditions; and teamwork taught through equally shared hardships over a long period of time. Anyone can make it through an intense but shortlived experience- but the 61 days that Ranger school lasts takes you past the point of your initial reserves and drives the entire group to near breaking. The weak links get weeded out intentionally.

    I'm pretty sure that the concern that Scoutpilot is expressing is that the Army has a tendency to almost never "fail" a politically ordained test. It determines what the desired outcome is and then achieves it. So what was failure, suddenly becomes acceptable because the outcome will be undesirable. (The Army differs from the USMC in that way more than any other- The Army would never have produced an Al Gray as Chief of Staff - yet he was the iconic Marine Commandant from the mid 1980's and was a guy who had no problem saying that something was bad for his Marines- regardless of how politically incorrect it was to say so. I can't even imagine an Army Chief of Staff ever doing that.) I think virtually everyone would say that there is no inherent reason why women can't attend Ranger School or for that matter serve as Infantry soldiers, and a relatively small % will successfully complete the course it as now configured. But I am pretty sure that what Scoutpilot is articulating is that there is going to be an immense amount of pressure to ensure no only that Women attend Ranger School, but complete it in roughly the same rates that men do now. And the only way that is going to happen is going to be if they gender norm the course- at which point the entire point of the course will have been missed. I could of course be wrong- but I'm pretty sure that I can hear the arguments already being made: "women are physically different than men, so it would not be fair to judge them by the same standards- it would be more fair to establish standards that are relatively the same as a proportion of their physical capabilities".

    Now that sounds fair right up until you notice that the little 5'4" 140 lb guy carrying the M60 machine gun or the Mortar base plate is putting out far more than the 6'4" 225 lb guy carrying the same thing. Ranger School is designed to simulate the stresses of small unit Infantry combat by putting the same load on everyone. But if history and common sense is a judge, that is likely to produce some pretty unequal tabbing %. So - as Scoutpilot alluded to- imagine how much pressure the RI's will be under to get an acceptable outcome. It certainly appears that this is going to happen though. So it will be interesting to see in what direction the Army goes, though history gives you a pretty good indication of how it will accommodate inherent physical differences.
     
  8. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    You said it far more eloquently than I did.

    I think we all know how the Army will handle. Deciding that women will attend Ranger is, in real "Army" terms, a decision will graduate from Ranger. The institutional gerrymandering that needs to occur for that to be assured is a given.

    As for you comment about the difference between USMC and Army generals, you're dead right. The average Army general, I'm sad to say, is a careerist first. It's a cancer, as I've said before. The system is in desperate need of leaders who eschew the "star club" culture of those we've served under.
     
  9. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I guess the real question is are they testing general fitness or simulating combat stresses? If you want to gender norm for fitness testing, that makes some sense. Gender norming doesn't make sense for combat conditions.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Bribing and scout, u r dead on balls accurate. This goes beyond the simple: if women can meet the same exact standards, then there shouldn't be a problem. The problem is: this is.and will be political, and as such, the standards will change. And if the standards change, so will the purpose and desired outcome. The politicians won't allow only 10% or whatever of women to pass the course. They will want the same 40-50% or whatever the men are currently passing at. The only way for that to happen because of physical requirement, is to either lower the standards or to hope that a very small number of women apply, and they are capable. Then, if that happens, the army will do what they do with diversity and try and recruit a higher number of women. Which will then result in a low percentage of passing, so they will lower the standard to achieve the numbers they want. But again, that destroys the meaning and purpose of the training.
     
  11. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The question with physical standards, IMO, is always: Are they designed to measure fitness/stamina, etc. or are they necessary to accomplish the mission?

    If the latter (accomplish the mission), everyone should be held to the same standard. If women can't meet that standard, they should not be allowed to graduate b/c they are a potential detriment to the mission.

    If the purpose is to demonstrate fitness, the standards for women in certain areas (e.g., time for runs) should be different b/c of innate differences in physiology. There's a reason men & women don't compete against each other in track & field events in the Olympics or elsewhere, yet few who would claim that female champions are not as "fit" as their male counterparts.

    I don't know the purpose behind the Ranger standards. My guess (and it's only that), is they're a combination of both fitness and service needs. Which makes it all the more complicated, sad to say.

    But, as a woman, I wouldn't want to see standards relaxed solely so women can pass. I want standards to be fair for both genders . . . and that apparently is harder to achieve than it seems.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    bruno; I apologize for my previous post. I meant to type BRUNO and SCOUT, but I was using my android and "Auto Spell" kicked in and wrote "Bribing" instead of Bruno. I don't think you're bribing anyone. LOL!!! Gotta love androids and their auto spell feature. Sorry again.
     
  13. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Should have gotten an iPhone. :shake:

    I was a little confused when I read an article on the Army Times site that said the reasoning for women being allowed in Ranger School was because 90% of the top ranking officers are tabbed. As Scout said before with the careerist mentality, it seems like a shoddy reason to change up a 60+ year tradition in order to help check off the box for someone's promotion ladder.....
     
  14. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    This is the direct quote from Gen Odierno:
    This was not an announcement but an answer to a question - the transcript is here:
    http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=5034

    If you read it carefully, it is a simple "if, then" statement - even if "then" is not in the transcript, it's implied.
    If females are allowed to go into the infantry and be successful (then) they are probably going to have to be allowed to go to Ranger school.

    This has nothing to do with lowering standards or destroying the brotherhood. It is a simple logical progression.
    The reason for females having the opportunity to attend Ranger school is the same as for male infantry soldiers - to help them be successful at their job.

    Females attend other school and are required to attain the same standard and their male counterparts - including Sapper school.

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/06/army-female-sappers-forge-path-women-combat-062412/

    The burning question is ..... if Ranger school was opened to females AND the standards were the same as for male soldiers are you in favor or opposed?
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    You bolded the wrong part. Freudian slip? Or just blatant reality?

    Oh, the senior leaders will surely make them successful. General Officer promotions are built on as much.

    The real burning question isn't whether anyone is opposed to it. Asking if I'd be "for" it if the military could make every standard the same is like asking if I'd be in favor of cold fusion. Neither has been proven possible. Sure, you can point to Sapper school, but there are two important distinctions: 1. Sapper and Ranger are not comparable (ask anyone who knows what Sapper stands for) and 2. Sapper school is NOT a career-defining school. Men and women routinely rise to the top of the branch without the Sapper tab. In fact, until about 6 years ago, the tab wasn't even authorized for wear. Not so with the Ranger tab. So when only 1 out of 50 women can pass a career-defining school built to tax the male infantry officer beyond his body's breaking point, what's going to change? The women? Or the school?

    The burning question is whether there is any value added for the mission or the military in forcing MOS's to take women. What's the benefit? Just once I want to hear someone actually articulate what the benefit to the force would be. Someone tell me how women in the infantry across the Army and USMC would make either force more effective. (Excluded reasons include "diversity" and "fairness.")

    Diversity for diversity's sake is a self-licking ice cream cone.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I'm sure at some point someone will bring up the fact that diversity for diversity's sake was just one of the arguments against African Americans being allowed to serve in the Regular Army. Just want to go on record that that argument doesn't apply here since back then the military was arguing skin color and not gender. Skin color had no bearing on strength and ability to complete the training on an even scale.

    The Coast Guard is allowing women to train as Rescue Swimmers, they are required to complete the course with the same standards as the men, as it should be with all training in these physically demanding jobs.

    There is already grumbling even at ROTC when a female cadet boasts a 300 APFT that for a male would be a 224. I can't imagine what the grumbling at Ranger school.
     
  17. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Has anyone seen an army poll or study actually showing the calculated numbers representing women who would actually WANT to attend the school? I don't think anyone here in this day and age could formulate an argument to exclude women just because they are women but how does does allowing women in Ranger School further aid the US Army in accomplishing it's goals and missions for the near and distant future. Besides all the PC diversity and equal opportunity PowerPoints what are the strategic implications for making this radical change. Is the change worth all of the alterations that probably will occur within the course (privacy, hygiene etc.) Can the standards be upheld when a 110 lb women is tasked to carry 100 lbs of gear throughout Kms of night ops with no sleep or breaks? From what I know of the school ( two cadre were career 75th NCOs) it is a gut check and leadership course intertwined into one to push a man to his limits. It will be really interesting to see what they plan to do with this adjustment in the coming years.
     
  18. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I'm sure the kind of women who run Ironman triathlons for fun could make it through. That said, that will likely be low numbers, especially at first.

    If you can do the job, want the job, and there are slots available, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to.
     
  19. AJM7680

    AJM7680 Banned

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    For the military to have the absolute best quality available personne, the base must include as many diverse groups as possible, within reason. Any time any of these diverse groups have a glass ceiling imposed upon them, it will discourage careers, especially for the "best and brightest". This will have a negative impact on military readiness.
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Bottom line:

    1. If currently, 50% of all men who try for Rangers makes it, then that will be the percentage that the army will want for women. If by chance, women can't pass Ranger training at the 50% (Or whatever the rate men are passing it at) success rate, then the army WILL LOWER the standards.

    2. Anyone who thinks Ranger training is mainly a leadership stepping stone for career progression and doesn't have significant operational and wartime purpose, doesn't understand and simply sees the political side.

    If the army wants to reevaluate how they select their top leadership, and readdress that 90% of top tier leadership have ranger training, then that's fine. But training standards for anything should not be lowered for political reasons. Especially political correctness and bogus diversity. Caveat: Training standards need to be practical and for a purpose, and not to intentionally be used to eliminate certain candidates. But if the training has a practical purpose, then there shouldn't be any lowering of the standards. If you don't make it; too bad. And if that means no women can succeed in the rangers (Unlikely; I'm sure many will); then so be it. But if there's reasons for the training, then don't lower the standards just to reach your politically correct numbers.

    Diversity is a wonderful thing. It has too many benefits that doesn't need to be mentioned again. But diversity for "Political Reasons" is pure B.S. Just like Affirmative Actions was B.S., so is diversity for political sake.
     

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