It was clear that nobody’s opinion was being solicited. The message came from the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the order seems to have come from echelons above him: Ranger School will admit women within a few months. And the women willpass, whatever it takes.
Female officers have complained that the lack of the school credential disadvantages them for promotions and commands, and in an election year their complaints have found champions among the political appointees in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In a Department whose highest priority is the Secretary’s million-dollar Gulfstream commute, and that has lost interest in two ongoing wars and a dozen other flashpoints where soldiers risk their lives daily, a stroke of a pen can upend a 60-year-old course that embodies a tradition with roots in the 18th Century.
And it just did.
The Ranger Training Brigade has been told to roll the welcome mat and the first class could be 03/13 but will definitely be 05/13 at the latest. Each class in the remainder of FY 13 will receive five to eight women, and the treatment, mentoring, nurturing and ultimate success of those female candidates will be intensively managed by the Chief of Staff and the Sergeant Major of the Army, not to mention civilian appointees. The male candidates in the same courses are not of interest to the command, as long as they don’t interfere with or criticize the women. Even the timing of the feminized classes was established for political reasons: to ensure that a fait accompli of female Ranger attendees, if not graduates is presented to the incoming SecDef and Secretary of the Army if, as the current leaders think likely, their patron is defeated in November. They did not want to put women in class 1/13, which starts in October, to prevent Congress from intervening before the elections, but 2/13 is an outside possibility.
Current Ranger graduates, Ranger veterans, and the Ranger units and Ranger training establishment were never consulted about the decision. Officers who argued against it in Pentagon meetings have already been dismissed or shunted into career-ending punishment assignments.
The RTB has not been directed that all female candidates must pass regardless of performance, and Ranger Instructors will retain a limited ability to dismiss an individual underperforming woman from the course, as long as “enough” women remain to please the higher-ups. But they will have to justify every dismissal to the highest levels of command, who have made their intention clear. Regardless of performance, the majority of women attendees must pass — at least as high a graduating percentage as the men in the same class. For the first time in Ranger history, graduation will be guaranteed — for some.
Read the rest from WeaponsMan.
How do SOFREP’s readers feel about this?