Pentagon mulling separate combat training for men, women

The military is looking at ways to modify its training for women to help them qualify for direct ground combat roles in the infantry, tanks and special operations.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Audrey Griffith, left, and Spc. Heidi Gerke, both with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, stand guard during a force protection exercise at Forward Operating Base Hadrian in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.  U.S. ARMY
U.S. ARMY
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Audrey Griffith, left, and Spc. Heidi Gerke, both with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, stand guard during a force protection exercise at Forward Operating Base Hadrian in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.

Senior officers revealed the new effort this week at a hearing of the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel.

The armed services have pledged that their standards for ground combat and commando operations will be the same for men and women.

But now commanders are raising the possibility of a two-tiered training system.

The idea was presented by Rep. Niki Tsongas.

Army Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for personnel, agreed.

“We are looking at that, and we’re not looking at it just for the integration of women,” Gen. Bromberg testified. “We’re looking at it for the total soldier, because just as you have a 110-pound male who may lack some type of physiological capability or physical capability, he or she may both need to be trained differently. We’re trying to expand our understanding of how we train.”

Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead Jr., deputy Marine Corps commandant for manpower, put forward a pitch for gender-segregated boot camp. The Corps is the only service that has maintained gender-segregated initial training.

“I think an excellent example of what you’re talking about is our gender-separated boot camp,” Gen. Milstead testified. “We don’t start teaching the [occupations] there. Our boot camp is about the transformation of individuals, men and women, from being a civilian to being a United States Marine. We have it separated for that reason, because we feel that this transformation, it goes on a separate track. It needs to be handled different.

“They need to be nurtured different. They just need different steps as they go. They end up in the same place, the United States Marines.”

The Marine Corps has charged to the front of the women-in-combat issue by asking female officer volunteers to try to complete the officer combat qualification course at the base in Quantico, Va.

Women are expected to perform the same tasks as men. All six women who have entered the course have dropped out due to injury or failure to complete the course.

The Pentagon lifted the ban on women in direct combat roles in January. The services and U.S. Special Operations Command are studying combat standards to validate or change them before a decision is made to move women into those roles in January 2016.

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Butterbean
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Butterbean 07/26/13 - 02:06 pm
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This was predictable.

I honestly believe that this was going to happen even though the politicians stated that there would be no difference in the requirements.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 07/26/13 - 05:08 pm
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This just proves what all of

This just proves what all of us old soldiers knew and have seen in the past when PC forced the armed forces to accept women into jobs they are not physically qualified to do. There are always different (lower) standards for women. The only question was were they going to lower the standards for everyone or separate the training and have different (lower) standards for women.

Equal work for equal pay is a fine ideal that rapidly turns into hypocrisy and deception when the women can't cut it and everyone knows it. If they separate the training they should call the program "Back to the WAC".

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