Pentagon considering affirmative action in combat

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor
Font Size:

Senior military personnel are considering giving women different military training than men, The Washington Times reports.

The effort was proposed by Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Niki Tsongas at a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing because so far, she says training systems do not “maximize the success of women.”

Though the armed services have promised that combat standards will be the same regardless of gender, senior officers are considering initially separate training systems.

Army Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, serving as deputy chief of staff for personnel, considers separate training programs to be more about considering all soldiers as individuals, citing a need to explore how the training process works.

“We’re not looking at it just for the integration of women,” Bromberg said. “We’re looking at it for the total soldier, because just as you have a 110-pound male who may lack some type of physiological capability or physical capability, he or she may both need to be trained differently. We’re trying to expand our understanding of how we train.

Deputy Marine Corps. Commandant for Manpower Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead Jr. agreed with the sentiment, citing the U.S. Marine Corps. system for gender-segregated boot camps.

“We don’t start teaching the [occupations] there. Our boot camp is about the transformation of individuals, men and women, from being a civilian to being a United States Marine,” he said.

He continued by saying that “They need to be nurtured different,” but assuring listeners that, “They end up in the same place, the United States Marines.”

While the Marines were the first service to allow women to serve in combat roles, they were expected to undergo the same officer combat qualification course as men.

Of the six women who entered, all have dropped out due to injury or failure.

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter