Center for Strategic Communication

The comments people have left regarding my post yesterday are fascinating and worth checking out. Many are open to women attending Ranger School and other infantry training in theory but have absolutely no faith whatsoever that the U.S. Army will not water down physical standards. This is my greatest concern as well, mainly because, as I argued in the original post, the U.S. Army always screws this up.

I believe holding men and women in the military to different physical standards — and holding people in different age groups to different physical standards — is wrong. In war (and elsewhere in life), you can either do the job or you cannot. If you want to have different physical requirements for different military occupational specialties, fine. The physical demands placed on an Airborne Ranger are different than those placed on a truck driver or dental hygienist, and I don’t expect the latter to be able to do all the things the former can do.

The physical standards for Ranger School are, regardless of anyone’s age, the ones that apply to the male 17-21 year-old age group — which are the hardest standards. Those should then be the standards for women who attend the course, right? Again, in theory, this makes sense. But the U.S. Army always always always ends up watering down the physical standards when it looks like too few women might qualify. 

As I wrote yesterday, I think this cheats the women out there who can compete with their male peers on a level playing field. And it cheats all women because it, again, teaches everyone in the military that women are the weaker sex and need a graded scale in order to serve their country.

This is ridiculous. Sex and gender equality does not mean lowering the standards to allow more women to serve. Sex and gender equality means caring far less about the sex of someone and more about what that person can or cannot do physically. If we end up having fewer women in the service as a result, that’s okay because everyone will know those women advanced on merit and did not need anyone to place their thumb on the scale when it came time to asess their physical capabilities. 

It’s just sad that so few believe the U.S. Army has the integrity to do this.