Women and men are becoming more integrated across the Department of Defense (DoD), particularly in the regular infantry, which is a reversal of the traditional structure throughout the U.S. military’s history.

Women can do amazing things. They have graduated from Ranger School; passed the excruciating Marine Corps Basic Reconnaissance Course; and now graduated from the SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) program. Not only did they do it, but they excelled in many areas proving that they have what it takes physically and mentally to pass every obstacle in their way.

Not for one moment do I take issue with a female servicemember having the courage and ability to take on such a challenge. Those who tried have attempted something that I never did myself.

Where I do take issue with women being allowed to join the ranks of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) — and direct combat jobs in general — is the significance beyond the accomplishment. Aside from the individual achievement, how does it make the Armed Forces more efficient and effective?

Do we have so many women wanting to try out for selection that the dam was about to break if we didn’t open the floodgates? Was there a shortage of capable men? Is the DoD really better off with women in SOF and infantry roles, or are we just having it rammed down our throats in the sake of fairness and equal opportunity? In reality, we’re making significant changes with reverberating effects throughout various military institutions and military families. Changes that are not really being factored in.

I served in a support role with a Marine infantry regiment (no females) and later a command element (several females), so I have existed in both worlds. Having personally served alongside women during portions of my active duty service in the Marine Corps, I have seen the good and the bad with that integration.

The Good

In terms of doing their contracted job, women can outperform a larger part of their male counterparts than most people realize. Women are just as capable and effective in support roles as any man is. One of the most effective leaders I had was a female senior enlisted Marine. For better or worse, she had a nurturing style that created a positive work environment for the 15-20 of us that she was in charge of.

Quite frankly there are women who can outperform the average male servicemember in basic physical fitness tests — and in some cases a fist fight. But to be honest, that number is relatively small.