If women are allowed to go to selection for SOF, then they should be permitted to go immediately and not be forced to wait. Currently, a minimum number of women must qualify and volunteer for a given class. That means if you’re a woman, and you want to go to selection—and you’ve been deemed worthy, like the two women recently chosen—you must wait until a minimum number has been reached before you can attend.
The two female soldiers identified are going to have to wait until next year, whether they know it or not. By next spring they’ll be able to go if they have the requisite cohort of female candidates joining them. If they don’t, they aren’t going. I can’t help but wonder if the selection of these two was made public to discourage these two women from moving on. It’s unfair that others have given up and moved on to other things to further their careers due to the cohort requirement and the unknown waiting time. From what I understand, the women who made it through Ranger School went through a very long training process leading up to their attendance, and were forced to wait for the process in the same fashion. Their journey began at the academy.
Taking soldiers out of operational cycles to satisfy political objectives is not OK for the force, and is a wasteful use of tax dollars. Congressional oversight will, someday, look at the money invested into these projects meant to maximize the success rate of the first females sent into the fray and decide it was not an efficient use of government spending and resources. If it’s necessary to treat an applicant as a professional athlete before they enter the force when others can prepare, pass, and meet the standard on their own, then there’s an imbalance and an unfair system is in place. I’ve no doubt some women can pass selection and train up on their own. There are women around the world who are warfighters already, without significant preparation.
If someone is qualified to attend SFAS, then they should be afforded the opportunity to go to it when they’re ready and accepted into a class, not deferred for no concrete reason. The military, which is often so cautious but is also willing to take huge risks on the battlefield, should consider each applicant like a product in need of development. So many go to selection and fail and quit. We need to know who they are upfront, without a significant amount of time spent preparing them. It seems like a political maneuver and not a tactical one that has SOF, and its fighting capability, in mind. I think I might even endorse a separate and reasonable standard for women, leaving men’s unchanged, rather than making women prepare to go only to have their ticket pulled for factors beyond their control.