U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brian Losey has come out with a statement giving his recommendation that crews in Navy SEALs and other combat positions be “opened up” to women, reports Navy Times.
“We will welcome any candidate who meets standards,” Losey stated.
The U.S. Navy SEALs (Sea Air and Land teams) were first created in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy as an “elite maritime military force” tasked with carrying out high-risk missions. Navy SEALs units typically perform operations in small groups who infiltrate hostile territory from marine access points, such as oceans, rivers, and swamps.
“Of crucial importance, SEALs can negotiate shallow water areas such as the Persian Gulf coastline, where large ships and submarines are limited by depth,” the U.S. Navy SEALs website reports.
A January 1, 2016 deadline looms for when all jobs in the the U.S. military are to be open to women, unless exemptions are sought by leaders, reports Defense One.
In August, First Lieutenant Shaye Haver and Captain Kristen Griest, graduated from the rigorous U.S. Army Ranger School, the first two women to do so in history, as reported by the Inquisitr.
“I couldn’t me more proud, and humbled by the experience,” Haver, an attack helicopter pilot, stated at a press conference. “At each event that we succeeded in we were winning hearts and minds as we went.” Fellow Army Ranger Griest is a military police officer.
It is noted that the elite standards required for entrance into Navy SEALs units are not likely to change and that “70 percent” of men who attempt to qualify fail.
U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford has asked that the Marines be excluded from including women. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus disagrees with Dunford’s view.
Secretary Mabus appeared on PBS NewsHour where he was interviewed by Gwen Ifill. Ifill noted a Marine report stating that women in combat units, on average, were slower, more injury-prone and less accurate at firing weapons.
“The Marines have never been about average,” Secretary Mabus stated. “The Marines are about exceptionalism. My view is: set high standards… then whoever meets those standards… gender is not crucial.”
While the average women might not exceed the military performance of the average male, the are many examples of individual women who outperform the male average and a majority of their male counterparts. Ifill also noted that in some areas, such as “mental health problems,” women in the military, on average, outperform males.
The grueling Army Rangers program included 19 women at its outset, by the end only two remained. Overall, the program has a 45 percent pass rate.
The first female Navy officers took on roles in submarines in 2011. The year 2016 will be the year that they are joined by enlisted counterparts. Just seven women serve as Navy divers out of a total population of 1,153 and 10 serve in explosive disposal crews, out of a total of 1,094, reports Navy Times.
While Admiral Losey appears to welcome women who are qualified to join the Navy SEALs, he notes both physical and medical risks. The military has closely studied the integration of women into combat roles and concerns with regard to the physical impact on women and potential long-term medical problems persist.
The admiral also added that women joining the SEALs may cause significant media attention, which would have the potential to compromise the cohesion and effectiveness of units. Media attention also has the potential to expose the identities of candidates, breaking a “long-standing mandate” that Navy SEALs crews remain anonymous to the public. Owing to this mandate, it might be a reasonable assumption that at some point, the future women could join the Navy SEALs and the public would never be made aware.
[Photos by Jessica McGowan / Getty Images]