The first female Special Forces Candidate is set to attend Special Forces Assessment and Selection this September. There is only one female going. This is a welcome development in light of fears of wait times due to lack of cohort size. This marks the beginning of women in Special Forces. As things stand now, there are no known changes to the selection courses known SOFREP. This will be an exciting first round and a revealing look at the future of women in SOF.
This is a large development. Just last year reports emerged that SOF, as a whole, was going to or had rejected women in SOF. However, political marching orders did not sway, and women were to be enveloped into operational roles. Ranger is said to have taken on changes as a result of their female candidates. Many have complained that the Ranger school of the past is not the same as the current version. Slowly, standards and aspects of training and training courses in the military have changed over time.
Stress cards are available in basic training for use when you’re overwhelmed. Sensitivity training happens in some units and is coming to many more. The Army has a set culture, and change is difficult for anyone. Change is difficult for an individual to take on in a short period. It’s unknown if these changes will have the adverse effect on the Army’s fighting ability in the future. However, the Army is culturally beholden to its doctrine. Doctrine that has stood the test of time and is often researched and thoroughly fleshed out.
The rest of the SOF community is soon to follow suit. Recently, BUD/S has hosted female observers but, no one has qualified to become a SEAL candidate, yet, to our knowledge. Unfortunately, BUD/S could be changed after allegations over the years that course is brutal and unfair to its male participants. As women will eventually attend, they might have to take another look at those complaints.
Right now, it’s an unknown what is going to happen for the sole female on her way to SF Selection. It’s going to be a singular and incredible experience for her, nonetheless. While it’s good that she isn’t held up by a cohort, it could yield some unforeseen consequences. Either way, the course has already changed some. Some events have been removed that were conflated too unnecessary and not part of a strict ‘standard.’ Adherence to the standard is going to make selection more of a combine in the future, than a gut check. I’m not sure if that’s for the better.
Featured image courtesy of www.csmonitor.com.