The Navy is moving forward with plans to include Navy women in previously closed billets including the Marine Corps and Special Warfare (Navy SEALS).
Gender-neutral occupational standards will need to be developed and congressional notifications made prior to implementation of any changes.
This does not mean that standards will necessarily be changed; it only means that occupational standards will be developed and/or tested in billets for which the only previous criterion was being male. These standards would be used to assess and assign Sailors to Marine Corps and other ground combat positions. Note that this could potentially eliminate men from assignments as well if they don’t meet the standards.
The January 31st announcement stated:
The elimination of the policy will potentially open over 5,000 enlisted United States Marine Corps (USMC) Ground Combat Element positions, and 150 USMC Ground Combat Element officer positions… guidance for the assignment of women to Coastal Riverine Forces and USMC Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) positions will also be developed…[and] Navy will work with Navy Special Warfare Command and US Special Operations Command to develop and evaluate a way ahead for the assignment of women to Naval Special Warfare-designated billets.
Special Operations Commander Admiral William McRaven stated:
I guarantee you, there will be females out there that will come to [Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL] training or be Rangers…and will do a phenomenal job.
There is no doubt many women will fail trying, just as more than two-thirds of men fail trying, but I am betting there are a few good women out there who will succeed. Re-watch the Demi Moore movie G.I. Jane.
I believe that is an accurate depiction of what any woman who tries this will have to endure. It is not for the weak of heart. As I stated in my December 21 post, now we just have to wait for the right women to volunteer and put themselves on the line.
As reactions to my previous posts have shown, there is a remarkable resistance by men to any change in personnel policy.
Previous policy changes, such as women’s assignment to surface combatants and submarines, elicited similar emotional responses. “Women can’t hack it…women don’t have the physical capability…women will fall apart in a combat situation,” have all proven to be false when there is a real emergency or combat situation. Over 10 years of war and women supporting combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown their resilience and capabilities. This is not a social experiment.
The Navy’s implementation plan is due to the defense secretary by May 15, and the plan for integration of Special Operations not until January 2016. By then I hope that women who desire these assignments will be in training, in preparation for what will be viewed through a microscope by those who want to see them fail.
But ladies: “Don’t give up the ship!”
As in, don’t give it up for lost and abandon it. At least one of you will prevail.