Admiral: SEALs Should Open Up To Women, But There Will Be Pressure To Lower Standards

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

The Navy SEALs may face strong pressure to lower standards for women, said Rear Adm. Brian Losey, Navy special warfare unit commander, who nevertheless issued a recommendation to allow women into the elite forces.

Aside from downward pressure on entrance standards, Losey also pointed out that women are much more likely to suffer injuries, The Associated Press reports.

Yet, despite the caveats, Losey issued a five-page memo to U.S. Special Operations Command recommending that the Navy SEALs open the gates to women, following the lead of all other services except for the Marine Corps.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who took over Friday for Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended that some combat roles remain closed to women, while he was still operating as commandant of the Marine Corps. (RELATED: Marine Corps Officials To Defy NavySec With Plan To Keep Combat Roles Male-Only)

Losey’s memo agrees with many of the findings pointed out by Dunford but still comes to a radically different conclusion, namely that women should still at least have the opportunity to test themselves against tough standards, even if they ultimately don’t succeed. In effect, Losey strikes a midway position between Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Dunford. Mabus has criticized a recent Marine Corps study which showed that all-male units outperformed mixed gender units on 69 percent of combat tasks. As Mabus would have it, at least part of female underperformance can be explained away by pointing to a biased mindset of Marine officials who ran the experiment.

Marines have not taken this criticism well — neither has Congress. (RELATED: Congressman Tells SecNavy He Needs To Resign Over Marine Corps Combat Study Controversy)

But including women likely won’t increase combat effectiveness, Losey admitted, and a concerted effort to push for gender equality “will channel focus and energy away from core combat readiness and effectiveness efforts.” Over time Losey expects that men will adapt to having female teammates, if any, saying that “acceptance is expected to increase.”

Losey is confident, however, that pressure to lower standards will not succeed.

The final deadline for submissions on combat role exemptions to Defense Secretary Ash Carter is Oct. 1.

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Tags : brian losey joseph dunford marine corps navy navy seals
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