AP Exclusive: Special Ops Troops Doubt Women Can Do The Job
Surveys find that men in U.S. special operations forces do not believe women can meet the physical and mental demands of their commando jobs, and they fear the Pentagon will lower standards to integrate women into their elite units, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Studies that surveyed personnel found "major misconceptions" within special operations about whether women should be brought into the male-only jobs. They also revealed concerns that department leaders would "capitulate to political pressure, allowing erosion of training standards," according to one document.
Some of those concerns were not limited to men, researchers found, but also were found among women in special operations jobs.
Dan Bland, force management director for U.S. Special Operations Command, told the AP that the survey results have "already driven us to do some different things in terms of educating the force."
About 68,800 people serve in the command, including 3,000 civilians. The main survey went to about 18,000 people who are in positions closed to women, and the response was about 50 percent. The high response rate, officials said, reflects the wide interest in the subject.
The studies are part of the Pentagon's effort to open all military combat positions to women or provide reasons why any jobs should remain closed. (Associated Press)