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Special Ops General Concerned with ‘Culture, Social Behavior’ Aspects of Women in Combat

No decision made on women SEALs or Rangers, but leader warns "a decision made by a single service can have rippled effects across the SOCOM enterprise."

by
Bridget Johnson

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June 18, 2013 - 6:42 pm
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As the Defense Department rolled out its plans today to integrate women into combat roles, a director at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) expressed the loudest skepticism from military leaders yet that the administration’s Jan. 1, 2016, goal would go off without a hitch.

The Pentagon released implementation plans for shifting women into previously closed positions, following up on the January decision to rescind the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and SOCOM all submitted their plans over the spring for review by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

“I remain confident that we will retain the trust and confidence of the American people by opening positions to women, while ensuring that all members entering these newly opened positions can meet the standards required to maintain our warfighting capability,” Hagel said in a memo accompanying the release.

“The Department remains committed to removing all gender barriers, wherever possible, and meeting our missions with the best qualified and most capable personnel,” he added.

As many as 237,000 front-line combat positions could open up to women. Job exemptions would have to be requested by each service branch and approved by Hagel and Dempsey to remain men-only.

And Maj. Gen. Bennet Sacolick, director of force management and development at SOCOM, told reporters at the Pentagon today that he’s making no guarantees.

“We have some genuine concerns that must be addressed prior to making an informed recommendation to the secretary of defense, a recommendation which complies with the chairman’s guiding principles of preserving unit readiness, cohesion, and morale,” Sacolick said.

“Of particular concern is our mission set, which predominantly requires our forces to operate in small, self-contained teams, many of which are in austere, geographically isolated, politically sensitive environments for extended periods of time. This complexity requires a unique assessment predicated upon detailed analysis, ultimately providing a single, clear, consistent procedure for execution throughout the SOCOM enterprise.”

He noted that “a decision made by a single service can have rippled effects across the SOCOM enterprise.”

SOCOM, through both its own command and the RAND Corp., is studying the potential impacts of letting women into the Navy SEALs and special boat crews and the Army Rangers. In the Marines Special Operations Command, SOCOM is looking at critical skill operator positions; in the Air Force, they are looking at special tactics officers, combat controllers, and special operations weather personnel.

“Because the Rangers are infantrymen, that will be dependent upon an Army decision to ultimately integrate,” Sacolick said, adding nearly 15,500 positions could open to women.

“I can ensure you we are not predisposed to any particular course of action. Once the studies are complete and all the facts and the data have been collected, the U.S. SOCOM commander, in conjunction with the service chiefs, will make their recommendation to the secretary of defense,” he stressed. “At this point, no decisions have been made. And I’ll state that again. We haven’t made any decisions whatsoever.”

Under questioning from reporters, Sacolick said he was hearing the rank-and-file — and his concern wasn’t so much about a woman’s muscular strength.

“Their concerns are, you know, once again, that you got a 12-men ODA and an isolated case, how is that — what are the implications there?” he said of the reaction from men in the field. “There’s all those things that we’re concerned about, probably more so than the actual standards in our qualification courses…culture, social behavior. Those aspects of ultimate integration.”

Still, Sacolick said it’s conceivable that a special ops team in the future could have 11 men and one woman.

“We’re looking for smart, qualified operators,” he said, noting women are “underrepresented” in civil affairs and psychological operations. “The days of Rambo are over. I mean, we’re looking for young men that can speak and learn a foreign language and understand culture, that can work with indigenous populations and culturally attune manners.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The goal here is to destroy the culture of the US military, when this is accomplished the traditional sources of volunteers will dry up. Patriots will not want to be a part of the US military and will not re-enlist, will not encourage family members to enlist, and the composition of the military will change from a group of patriots to one rife with identity politics. A military where the oath to uphold the Constitution is no longer taken seriously, a military that will fire upon US citizens when ordered. That is the goal of this administration.

That is the goal of the immigration bill, repeal of DADT, and women in front line combat postions. All people who are something before they are Americans, be it gay, woman, immigrant. People who can easily be manipulated by telling them the enemy is anti-(insert identity here), and thus you no longer have a military that will uphold the Constitution and can be used to oppress the American populace. It may take 10 years but it will happen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The object is to destroy the greatest fighting force ever seen by mankind. How, by lowering the standards. Just look back to 1986 until present. How many pull ups do women have to do now to get in the Marine Corp? Perhaps, they just have to hang up there for a minute.

Go back to the PFT standards of 1986 for all branches of the military, and see how many women can hack it. If any women can, then you have my blessing to enter combat roles. Otherwise, get the hell out of my Marine Corp, get dinner ready, clean the house, and put on something sexy.

While I'm at it, Homosexuality is not Honorable. It's reprobate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All so ridiculous - modern US military leadership is gutless and only concerned with their careers, even if these policies destroy the fighting ability of the Armed Forces - which they will. Welcome to the US as a second-rate power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (38)
All Comments   (38)
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I remember the controversy about when women first entered West Point. There was a lot of talk how they would destroy the culture of West Point. It didn't happen. The women who got in and made it through were tough cookies and I have served with many.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Note that this surge in enthusiasm for sending women into combat is coming precisely as our major overseas deployments are winding down.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...we underestimate the capacity of our younger troops to embrace change, to embrace diversity, and I just want to provide them an opportunity to voice their concerns...

Good grief! Sounds like a northeastern liberal arts college dean. And that's a SOCOM general speaking! Who said generals aren't politicans?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This issue is a militant/feminism attempt to crack the "glass ceiling" of the military establishment. Feminists have long whined and complained that there are not enough female generals/admirals due to their having been denied access to combat arms positions and therefore denied access to promotions. This issue arises along with gays every time we elect a democrat administration.

I never served with females as I was an infantryman, but the females I did encounter as pilots of C-130's, C-141's, C-5's and CH-47's performed their duties very well (placed us at the correct alignment to the drop zone allowing for TOT and wind direction/speed). I cannot say whether or not females actually want to be in combat arms, or if it is simply pushed upon them by politically motivated activists.

I can say that I am not personally ready to see coffins coming home full of females killed in action; it's already bad enough when they are occupied by men.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Women in ground warfare is a horrible idea. I realize ground combat has changed since my time serving in World War 2 but when Boöts on the ground are needed,the vast majority of women do not have the physical capabilities of men.Treating them as equals will add burden to the men as they will have to handle their own roles and assume duties that females physical cannot handle .An another problem is when in a combat situation the female soldier my start experiencing their monthly period which will greatly reduce their ability to serve and will put the male soldier in harms way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I realize ground combat has changed since my time serving in World War 2..."

Bless you, my friend, WWII ended almost 70 years ago.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why are military tasks suddenly divided up? So women will get to choose what they do based on their abilities? Will men get to then too? Men that don't make the physical cut get kicked out, will women get kicked out?

Regarding SOCOM, if there are more than 2-3 women in the service that can make the cut, then the standards are too low. And it does not make sense to accommodate 2-3 women. But when only a minority of men make the cut (and those are already physical specimens) it's absurd to think any women will make it without changing standards.

The General is a liar.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We discussed allowing women onto A Teams back in the early 1990's and our group CO was for it. There were situations where a woman would have given us better access to the local population. Granted, it will take quite a woman to survive Q course But if they can, they will be an asset.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't know if you were around then, but back in the 80's a woman did try going though the training. Katie Wilder I think her name was. Anyway, my ex-brother in law kept me filled in on what transpired with her as they navigated through the Q course along with her. (I think that is what it was called) My husband also was SF at Bragg at the time so of course we were all watching. I won't go into all that happened, but I can tell you the men absolutely changed their behavior while dealing with her in the field. The woman likes to sue so that's about all I'll say at this point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can agree with the top rated comment(s). But, I have an observation based upon most of the conversation concerning women in combat. Let's keep our eye on the ball. All these issues are meant to divide us into groups so that petty inter-group politics will keep us from watching the "magician's" other hand. When all is said and done, some women will make it and some won't.
As Americans, we must be aware that there is an attempt to undermine the very culture which has spawned the most productive, charitable, free, inventive, and successful culture in world history. Why these people want to do this is because they are jealous of our culture. Let's stick together because these jealous people feed on our discontent. Remember GI Jane was just a "movie". Somewhat entertaining but that's all.
Time to replace our leaders with some ordinary citizens with moral values and common sense. Let's pray that God taps those people on their shoulders and gets them involved in government while there is still some time left.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't it be interestign if the question was instead asked in the form of, "please estimate the number of deaths expected from this change".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about making the 155 rounds lighter or change to a more accommodating round for women?. How about downsizing the tank, make it easier for everyone to work as equals? How about making it bigger and roomier so it isn't so tightly packed and crampy and smelly with seaparate toilets? How about automating the loading? How about have his and her special forces units and his and her special training to incorporate the special needs of each? How about lowering the standards so that women can more readily stay with their male counterparts in a combat situation? How about less gear so the loads wont' be so heavy? How about separate but equal facilities when in the field and males and females are working together in a battle situation so we can protect the diverse privacy and decency and fairness for all parties?

Our enemies are laughing their collective bottoms off. As usual. We are doomed on so many fronts that it is absolutely fall down milk out your nose funny and everyone is actually serious.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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