85% of U.S. military’s special ops oppose women in combat

More social engineering of the U.S. military by the Obama administration.

Beginning next year, 2016, all U.S. military combat roles will be open to women, including Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, should they meet the test, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced on Dec. 3.

But a RAND Corporation study found strong opposition from special ops and non-commissioned officers, at a time when the Obama administration is sending somewhere between 100 and 200 special ops troops to Iraq in the next few weeks as part of a military strategy to defeat the Islamic State. The special ops will undertake intelligence-gathering, raids, and assassinations of top ISIS leaders. Carter said it would also give the U.S. a better vantage point, allowing troops to move into Syria with ease.

Gayle T. Lemmon reports for Defense One, Dec. 4, 2015, that in a nearly 300-page report obtained exclusively by Defense One with more than 150 additional pages of technical notes based on focus groups and a survey of those inside the special operations community, RAND Corporation researchers found that SEALs, Air Force special operations forces and non-commissioned officers “appeared most strongly opposed” to integrating women into special operations forces.

The report notes:

“There is strong, deep seated and intensely felt opposition to opening SOF (special operations forces) specialties that have been closed to women. Overall, 85 percent of survey participants opposed letting women into their specialty, and 71 percent opposed women in their unit. The dominant perspective across the focus groups was that women should not be integrated into special operations forces units and specialties, with potential impact on mission effectiveness and their continued ability to function as a highly performing team central to participants’ concerns.”

The study found three biggest areas of worry among special ops concerning women in combat:

  1. Eroding standards.
  2. A decline in unit cohesion.
  3. A question about how leadership would resolve conflicts between men and women.

On the matter of women’s physical readiness for special op standards, the study not surprisingly found that “On average, males generally outperform females.” The RAND study nevertheless proclaims that “although there are often large differences between men and women, primary emphasis must be placed on an individual’s capabilities to perform critical tasks…. Just as very few men succeed in qualifying for SOF and the ones that do are in the tail of the distribution, the same is likely to apply to women.”

The study optimistically concludes:

“Based on our analyses, the challenges facing SOCOM [U.S. Special Operations Command] should it decide to integrate women into SOF units, are real and multifaceted, but none of them is insurmountable. The key to successful integration of out-groups is the implementation process. A successful integration of women into SOF…will require transparency, effective leadership and communication, monitoring of progress, and openness to innovation, flexibility and adaptability. Even with all of the above, the process is still likely to face major challenges because of the depth and scope of opposition and concern among the force.”

Joseph Votel, Obama, Lloyd Austin IIINotwithstanding the RAND study’s findings of strong opposition to women in special ops, SOCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel endorsed the opening of all combat roles to women. In an 8-minute video released to his troops, Votel said:

“We need a wide range of exceptional people to be combat effective and to help us address the complex security problems of today’s environment. After weighing and considering the rigorous analysis . . . I have determined that there is no compelling analytical data that would support an exception of policy for special operations.

A year ago, Obama appointed Ash Carter as Defense Secretary although Carter has no military experience. As the New York Times then reported: “Mr. Carter has degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford; he was a Rhodes Scholar, was a longtime member of the Harvard faculty and now lectures at Stanford. His senior thesis at Yale was on the use of Latin by monastic writers to describe the world of 12th-century Flanders.”

The full integration of women into the military will mean military-age U.S. women will need to register for Selective Service.

See also:

-StMA

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4 responses to “85% of U.S. military’s special ops oppose women in combat

  1. A no brain er, just let the woman pull their own weight, OR die doing it. I guess they will finally be treated the same as men !

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  2. Pingback: 85% of U.S. military’s special ops oppose women in combat | Rifleman III Journal

  3. Thank you StMA for this interesting post. What can I say, my favorite saint, a teenager, literally saved the country of France from the English, riding into battle and leading her army of men for the King of Heaven.

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    • Dear joandarc,

      St. Joan was an extraordinary individual, but you’ll forgive me if I disagree with your using her as an example in the context of this post.

      While she led and commanded the French army, Joan of Arc never actually fought in battle or killed an opponent. Instead, she would accompany her men as a sort of inspirational mascot, brandishing her banner in place of a weapon. She was also responsible for outlining military strategies, directing troops and proposing diplomatic solutions to the English (all of which they rejected). Despite her distance from the front lines, Joan was wounded at least twice, taking an arrow to the shoulder during her famed Orléans campaign and a crossbow bolt to the thigh during her failed bid to liberate Paris.

      Today, a soldier in the U.S. army carries a pack weighing 60 lbs (half the body weight of some women), because the expectation is that a soldier must be able, when needed, to carry a wounded comrade from the battlefield. There’s a reason why although Nazi Germany, Russia, and Israel all had tried including women in combat, all three eventually ended that policy.

      Finally, this post is not about whether American women have the courage to fight for their country. This post is about why the Obama administration made the decision to open even combat roles to women. It’s a political-ideological reason, not a practical-military reason, which explains why the overwhelming majority of special ops oppose the new policy, and why the military brass (whom Obama has purged) support it.

      Liked by 1 person

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