Women in Combat: An Outsider Take

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced on Thursday that all jobs in the United States military would become open to all Americans, thus permitting women to serve in all combat roles.  To many, this news is seen as a win for equality within our military.  Now to clarify, I have never served in any capacity, but I am connected to a lot of people who have.  I’d like to provide my take on this decision, as an outsider.

OAF Nation (aka Operator as **** Nation) is a collective of current and prior special operations members.  They post a lot of opinion pieces and their article from August of this year really resonated, especially now considering it’s content being about women in combat.  ‘Mr. Blonde’ the pseudonym used by one of the authors describes many of the reasons why women in combat is a bad thing.  He highlights the fact that many people do not speak out against this for fear of being criticized as ‘sexist’ or ‘politically incorrect’.  Lets face it, this decision directly affects the lives of service members.  The military has one job and that is to keep our country safe by neutralizing our enemies.  The goal is to win, but is that being compromised by a decision like this?

Mr. Blonde cites musculoskeletal injury rates in women, training standards and combat in general as a few reasons why women should not hold combat roles.  Now despite saying that, he highly encouraged women serving in the military and even being permitted to attend special military schools, like Ranger school, etc for purposes of personal achievement and promotion.  These reasons he provided align a lot with people I know who have served in military infantry positions.

If a man hears his male friend screaming for help but at the same time hears a female asking for the same, who takes priority?  Biologically, a male would be more prone to respond to the female in distress.  But also on the topic of human biology and hormones, how would putting alpha-male types in their late teens/early twenties with women work?  We know what goes through the minds of guys this age, but amplify that by the inherently masculine nature of what they are doing and I think you have a very questionable situation.  Simply put, you could be putting team dynamics at risk along with adding what could very easily be a ‘distraction’.

Now am I going to sit here and say women cannot fight?  Absolutely not… Look at female Russian snipers in WW2, they held some of the highest body counts.  To put it bluntly, women have proven their ability to kill in war but should we put them directly in infantry units, as opposed to just ‘attaching them’?.  Women have served in combat roles in our military via attachment to infantry units or SOF (special operation forces) groups.  But even so, they never had to go through the process the others guys did to enter that combat position.  They didn’t go through BUD/s, Ranger School (until now), RASP, etc.  There seems to be great concern from service members about women meeting training standards and having to lower them to accommodate.  If lowering of standards occurred, there would be massive unnecessary risk places on these units.

I can see both sides of this issue, but from the personal accounts I have heard from people who have been there and done that, I think putting women directly in combat roles could be dangerous.  This is an example of the Secretary of Defense asking for input on an issue, then making a decision that is completely against what people had to say.  I can’t help but feel like political correctness has overtaken the desire to ultimately ‘win’, in a case like this.  Ultimately, I do not believe women are incapable of serving, I just think that this decision compromises a lot of things but mainly safety and infantry capability above all.

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