• Growing Concern that Rangers, SEALs May Slash Physical Requirements to Integrate Women

    The Army stated Friday that not even one woman passed the requirements for the next phase of Ranger School.

    This means that out of the total of 8 women left in the grueling, two-month long course at Fort Benning, Georgia, five are set to drop out, USA Today reports. The remaining three will have the opportunity to repeat from the beginning near the end of June.

    Nineteen women were brought in to Ranger School for the first time as part of a Pentagon effort to integrate women into all combat roles. During the first phase, 11 failed. All were offered another attempt.

    “This is normal course procedure and is used when students struggle with one aspect of the course and excel at others,” a statement from Fort Benning read.

    While many view the restarts as necessary in order to maintain the reputation as an elite fighting force, some wonder if standards will be lowered to accommodate women. Though Gen. Raymond Odierno lauded the women in the course, he reiterated Thursday that “I’m actually fairly adamant about not changing the physical standards.”

    Yet, this view isn’t consistent throughout the military. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is hoping to aggressively boost recruitment of women into the service. Mabus said he’ll reevaluate training standards once women enter the SEAL pipeline.

    At a recent speech, Mabus revealed several reforms to increase the recruitment of women up to 25 percent of the force, including changing physical fitness standards and the way body fat is measured.

    Only about 3 percent of the Army is capable of qualifying as a Ranger. Other Rangers think the military should lower standards to accommodate women because it’s “equitable and sensible,” but these opinions are decidedly in the minority.

    The next phase of the school begins on June 25.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter


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