When Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opened combat occupation roles for women in the military, it also allowed women to volunteer for the various Special Operations units. These units in the military that are not only difficult to get into but even more so to complete the grueling courses. Carter admitted that the differences in the sexes will have some occupational specialties difficult for women to fill. But they will face additional challenges.

Not only will women have to complete the SFAS (Assessment and Selection) course and the SFQC (Special Forces Qualification Courses) which are very difficult in their own right, but they’ll frequently have to battle cultural prejudices that exist in many hotspots around the globe where women warriors are not a common sight. And the bias among the soldiers already assigned to SF units that women can’t handle the task.

The Special Operations Command first allowed women on operations with the Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) and those have proven successful. But now real heavy lifting begins when female officers will have the opportunity to command A-teams if they pass the Q-course.

Officers in the Army can apply for Special Forces assignments once a year. In April of 2016, the Army received 860 packets for consideration to the Special Forces, PSYOPS, and Civil Affairs Regiments. 71 women applied for Special Forces duty, of which 65 were considered and two were accepted.