Females At The Front, Ctd

Jan 24 2013 @ 11:31am

Heather Mac Donald complains about the military ending the ban on women in combat roles:

Any claim that our fighting forces are not reaching their maximum potential because females are not included is absurd. The number of women who are the equal to reasonably well-developed men in upper-body strength and who have the same stamina and endurance is vanishingly small. Because the number of women who will meet the military’s already debased physical-fitness standard will not satisfy the feminists’ demand for representation, the fitness standard will inevitably be lowered across the board or for women alone, as we have seen in civilian uniformed forces.

Ambers rebuts her:

The worry that standards will be relaxed for women is more appropriately expressed as a desire to make sure that the standards for the job are exacting and right; that means that some may be relaxed, and some may be tightened. Equality of condition in the military for men and women is not a goal of this policy. An end to discriminatory policies that have no rational basis while preserving military readiness — a readiness that stilldoes incorporate a recognition of gender differences — is.

A reader sounds off:

One thing that always chafes at me is the way in which the military term “non-combat” is portrayed by the media, almost always in relation to the (correct) inclusion of women in combat roles. I’m a soldier in the Military Police, a branch within the Army that’s often jokingly derided by the Infantry and Armor types as “women’s Infantry” (emphasis on jokingly). My sense is that soldiers in the Maneuver branches (Maneuver is the Army term that replaced ‘CombatArms’ – Infantry, Field Artillery, Air Defense, Armor, and Special Forces) seriously acknowledge that non-Maneuver soldiers, especially MPs and Engineers, provide a combat capability that’s vital to the fight and that they themselves could not provide. The MP branch in particular has been seen as the go-to destination for female officers looking to lead soldiers in combat.

It’s great that those women will now be able to test their mettle in the Maneuver branches of the Army. One key thing that I think is lost on the civilian world though is that there is going to be fierce resistance to women being held to different physical standards in these new roles.

In the military, men and women are scored on different scales for their branch’s particular physical training test, and their scores greatly impact their job evaluation. The tests also serve as a sort of pass/fail barrier to entry to some elite military schools like Ranger School in the Army, seen as the ‘must-do’ for all junior Infantry officers wishing to make it past captain. In the Maneuver world, where leaders are expected to score above the 90th percentile on these physical tests, you’re going to see fierce resistance from male soldiers and Marines who dislike their female competition being graded on a different (easier) scale. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make the women who try to get into these units meet male physical standards.

These courses are incredibly physically demanding, and most men fail. It sounds bad to say it, but it might be a long time before we see a woman graduate wither from Ranger School or the Marine Corps Infantry Officers Course. The women who were handpicked by the Army and Marine Corps over the past few years to test the waters by going through those schools all failed, and failed badly. And they were real-life G.I. Janes. Today’s a victory for women in the service, but the true victory is going to come when we see Ranger-tabbed female Infantry captains.

You can read our entire “Females At The Front” thread here.