The below email from Admiral Olson, and is an excellent narrative on women in Special Ops.  SOFREP Managing Editor Jack Murphy’s recent comments on the issue of women at war provide some excellent insight into a very controversial issue as well.

Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Brandon, Editor-in-Chief

From Admiral (SEAL) Eric Olson

“In response to recent reporting in which I was misquoted about females in the Teams (my actual comments at Aspen about women in SOF are at 1:01:25 in the YouTube video link below)…

… I am in favor of greater utilization of “female operators” in increasingly sophisticated roles within SOF.  This is not new

SOF have had great success with women in Civil Affairs, Military Information Support Operations and Cultural Support Teams over the last few years, especially.  When properly equipped and prepared, they have often proven to be outstanding — and many have earned the full respect of their male counterparts.  In certain foreign cultures, they have been uniquely successful in learning or finding things of real operational value.  In some specific cases, they have been key to mission success.

I believe that NSW and SOF ought to continue to seek ways to expand and enhance womens’ mission roles, and develop selection, training, and equipping methods that will optimize their ability to contribute in challenging operational situations.

I do not support the concept of females going through BUD/S, the SF Q-course or any of our other pipeline training courses designed to prepare men for intense combat.  I favor separate selection and training, tailored to the operational roles that females will actually be expected to perform.  This is not about creating “female SEALs,” but about finding new ways to operationally employ women in order to enhance SOF’s overall capabilities.  To be sure, the women who “operate” with SOF will need to be physically fit, intellectually agile, determined and courageous.  SOF have a number of such women already serving in highly demanding assignments.  What is needed now is a more structured way to identify and screen them, prepare them for their unique operational roles and manage their careers.