With the US government notionally opening all combat positions in the US military to women, Special Operations Forces have been tasked with justifying why women should, or should not, be allowed to serve in their units. At SOFREP we frequently receive e-mail and other messages about how and when women will soon join the Ranger Regiment.
The answer to the question of women serving in the Regiment appears in the latest issue of Patrolling magazine, which reports information disseminated by the Regimental Commander at the last Ranger Rendezvous. SOCOM used data from actual combat operations which the Ranger Regiment has conducted during the War on Terror in order to determine the type of physical stresses placed upon the Ranger in combat. The data looked at, “the load to be carried on the person and the speeds and distances required to move that load over the varieties of terrain encountered.”
Using this information in conjunction with performance data taken from female soldiers, the case has been made that extremely few women would qualify to meet the Regiment’s training and combat standards. The number is so low that it would not make sense to open up RASP to female candidates for purely pragmatic reasons.
While the issue of women serving in Special Operations units is still an open one with no final decision having been made, the Ranger Regiment has made the case that women should be barred from serving in their unit. However, it should be noted that this has no effect on whether or not women will be permitted to attend Ranger School or not. While the 75th falls under USASOC and SOCOM, Ranger School falls under TRADOC (Training and Doctrine), a completely different chain of command.