As noted recently by Brandon Webb here on SOFREP, the Navy SEALs are preparing in the near future to accept their first female Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training candidates. Packages are no doubt being prepared by some enterprising, hard-charging young women, and the command is undoubtedly in the planning stages of just how to handle these trailblazers. Teeth are probably being gnashed in some quarters, “I told you so’s” are being locked and loaded for the inevitable female candidates who fail, and all eyes will be intently fixed on the candidates as they enter one of the world’s most challenging military training programs.

What exactly can these women expect to face when they step across the quarterdeck of the Naval Special Warfare Center to start BUD/S? What will be in store for them as they embark on their journey of discovery and start hammering away at the heretofore ballistic glass ceiling that sits in place over top the military’s special operations community? Here are just a few hurdles, challenges, factors, and realities that these women can surely look forward to encountering.

1. Media scrutiny

The first female to enter BUD/S training can be assured of facing media scrutiny the likes of which few could imagine. Every single U.S. media outlet, from the Navy Times to Stripes to USA Today to the New York Times will want to interview, photograph, and chronicle the progress of this woman trailblazer. The Naval Special Warfare Center will no doubt seek to run interference for most of those requests, but this author assumes that at least some journalists will be granted access, in an effort by the Navy to ensure that all is aboveboard in the integration of BUD/S training. The country, if not the world, will be watching.

2. Unchanged standards

Of one thing this author is absolutely certain: The SEALs who run BUD/S training, from the commanding officer on down, will fight tooth and nail to maintain the rigorous standards that have always defined the training. BUD/S is the crucible through which must pass all prospective SEALs. It is simply too important to the SEALs who serve as the gatekeepers of the community to ensure those standards are not altered for any candidate. They have never done it in the past, and this author does not see it happening in the future. The BUD/S standards are sacrosanct, and should change for no man or woman.

3. Skepticism

There will surely be those, and some have already made their voice heard, who harbor no doubts whatsoever that a woman cannot make it through BUD/S without it being watered down to allow her to pass. They will never be convinced. Some will be instructors, some will be fellow students, some will be salty retirees, and some will be active-duty SEALs. The first women in the training should just expect such skepticism, and learn to deal with it. If it were me, I would harness it to make me more motivated to succeed and prove them wrong.