studies the service has completed to gauge how women would perform in infantry, armor and other direct-action combat roles.
Currently, all of the services are in the final stages of crafting recommendations to the Pentagon as to how they will open all combat jobs to women by next year or explain why any must stay closed.
Army senior leaders are now reviewing data compiled from three different Army studies that looked at the cultural risks, physical demands and injury rates of integrating women into combat-arms units down to the platoon level.
“This has been a multi-year process, devoid of emotion, to have quantifiable and qualifiable data that is legally defensible, and we can relate it to combat requirements,” Gen. David Perkins told an audience at the 2015 Maneuver Conference at Fort Benning, Georgia. “We do have a huge amount of data and a level of fidelity that we have never had in the Army before.”
His comments come less than a week after details of a Marine Corps study showed that all-male units outperformed gender-integrated units in physical performance and marksmanship events.
MARINE CORP FINDING
All-male squads, teams and crews demonstrated higher performance levels on “69% of tasks evaluated (93 of 134)” as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews, according to the executive summary of the study.
“All-male squads, regardless of infantry MOS, were faster than the gender-integrated squads in each tactical movement,” the document states. “The differences were more pronounced in infantry crew-served weapons specialties that carried the assault load plus the additional weight of crew-served weapons and ammunition.”
On lethality, “All-male 0311 (rifleman) infantry squads had better accuracy compared to gender-integrated squads,” it states. “There was a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system (i.e. M4, M27, and M203) within the 0311 squads, except for the probability of hit & near miss with the M4.”
All-male infantry crew-served weapons teams engaged targets quicker and registered more hits on target as compared to gender-integrated infantry crew-served weapons teams, with the exception of M2 accuracy, according to the summary.
In addition, “male provisional infantry (those with no formal 03xx school training) had higher hit percentages than the 0311 (school trained) females: M4: 44% vs 28%, M27: 38% vs 25%, M16A4w/M203: 26% vs 15%,” it states.
All-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties.
The two female Army officers that recently made history by graduating from Army Ranger School said that the most challenging part of the grueling 62-day infantry leadership course was their lack of infantry experience.
The senior leadership at Ranger School and the Maneuver Center of Excellence agreed that if male Ranger candidates had an advantage over females in this gender-integrated Ranger course, it had less to do with physical strength and toughness and more to do with the on-the-job experience that most male students have acquired serving in infantry roles.
First Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest were among the 19 females that volunteered to go through the first co-ed class of Ranger School that began April 20. In addition to the 19 women, there were 380 men who started the course. One other female is in the final phase.
The two largest groups that feed Ranger School are second lieutenants from the Infantry Officer Basic Leaders Course and members of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
The lieutenants have just completed 17 weeks out of the Infantry Officer Basic Leaders Course, which is focused primarily on the tactics techniques that an infantry platoon leader is expected to know and understand and be able to execute upon arriving to his first unit of assignment and assuming the responsibility for an infantry platoon, Benning officials say.
Similarly, Rangers from the Ranger Regiment serve in an infantry org