Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

Navy SEALS find ‘no barriers’ to integrating women into combat roles

SUMMARY: U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command has found no barriers to integrating women into all-male SEAL teams. Studies began in 2013, and have examined physical standards, counterterrorism operational capabilities and an in-depth study of the unit responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden. The Navy has submitted that existing physical standards are to be retained, but there are no barriers to integrating women into SEAL teams. It is interesting to note that the Navy has not used women volunteers in a pilot program to test these physical standards. Instead, the Special Warfare Command commissioned; the Joint Special Operations University to examine the performance of mixed-gender small teams; University of Kansas to interview personnel about attitudes towards integration and cohesion; and physiologist Karen R. Kelly to examine the current standards for becoming a SEAL and their occupational relevance. However, ‘if the Pentagon orders the command to open its jobs, female candidates will face what some experts consider the toughest military training qualification test in the world.’

SOURCE: Rowan Scarborough, May 3 2015, ‘Navy SEALs see no barrier to women in combat ranks,’ The Washington Times,

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