“Today, Secretary Carter announced his decision to fully integrate all positions, career fields, and specialties to women,” SOCOM Commander General Joe Votel said in an official announcement on December 3rd, 2015. “I want to take this opportunity to state that I stand behind Secretary Carter’s decision, and fully support opening all special operations specialties and units to female service members.”

SOCOM was given the opportunity to submit an exception to the new decision to integrate females into the force, but General Votel chose not to.

I want to firmly state right up front that that as we move forward with integration, we will absolutely not lower, raise, or create multiple sets of standards for special operations,” General Votel continued.  “If candidates meet our time tested and scientifically validated standards and if they have proven that they have the physical, intellectual, professional, and character attributes that are so critical to special operations than we will welcome them into our ranks.”

However, documents obtained by SOFREP regarding the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) and physical training standards within the regiment itself prove that General Votel’s words are false and hollow.

Female Ranger School students act as the test bed for the 75th Ranger Regiment

Ranger School is the Army’s premier leadership school, focusing on producing the best leaders possible who can perform in high-stress and combat situations while making tactical decisions at a moment’s notice. The school has been at the center of the national spotlight for some time following the graduation of the very first female Ranger-qualified soldiers. Ranger School is a training and leadership school that is separate from the 75th Ranger Regiment, the latter of which is a special operations combat unit.

Was this just a breaking of the glass ceiling and reversal of the cultural patriarchy in the armed forces, or something more? A transparent integration seemed like the best initial option for full support from both prior Ranger School graduates and the cadre of RTB (Ranger Training Brigade). This was not the case. Prior to the first integrated course, an unnamed general told a group of his subordinates, “A woman will graduate Ranger School.” The initial females were also allowed to train under SFC Robert Hoffnagle, receiving everything from nutritional instruction to onsite land navigation courses, and were allowed to recycle over and over again.

The dispute regarding Ranger School standards came as the various services were told to report to the Pentagon before Sept. 30 as to whether they would seek “exceptions” for certain military jobs to the 2013 directive issued by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to open up all military occupational specialties to those women who could qualify. So was this just a preemptive power play to demonstrate the “do as I say, not as I do” workings of the top brass? No MOS exemptions were filed, and now we have the first female coming to RASP within the next few months.