Sometimes you read things in the news and are thoroughly amazed and awed by some of the fantastic things people think of and make happen. Other times you can read something and be thoroughly amazed and awed for the opposite reasons and wonder, “What the hell are they thinking?” Recently, the Pentagon has resolved to do a study on the women who are breaking down the barriers of traditionally male-only schools. They want to test the women who have been successful since the military lifted the ban on women attending these courses a few years ago.

The bean counters want to test these “hyper-fit” women who have passed the Army Ranger School (30 and counting); Special Forces Assessment and Selection, or SFAS (three thus far); and Marine Infantry Training (two as of 7/19). They’re sending them to the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts, commonly known as Natick Labs, to see what makes them so “physically successful” and “competitive.”

They’re testing these women’s physical, mental, and psychological attributes to find the answers they’re looking for. In one test, the analysts are hooking these women up to a mask and breathing apparatus, which is linked to a computer to calculate each participant’s V02 max score while they’re running on a treadmill. While this will test the amount of oxygen a woman is using at her peak exercise rate, it isn’t going to answer their question about why these women were successful.

This isn’t intended to disparage the good folks at Natick Labs. They do marvelous work there. All of the gear—the good gear that is put in the hands of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen—goes through testing there. They come up with ways of making those pieces of equipment better by improving upon the designs. They also do tremendous work in biomechanics, injury reduction, nutrition, medicine, and much more. But the Pentagon is looking in the wrong place.