There aren’t women going through Special Forces training—yet. Is it possible to do this without lowering the standard or deviating from the standard somewhere? I’m not sure. But it’s worth a real conversation. What’s the best way to do this? It’s not just about the physical demands of serving in Special Forces. In fact, I think the hardest part of the lifestyle is the emotional strength required, not the physical feats. If someone goes through the training to prove themselves, but doesn’t possess the emotional and mental discipline to get beyond that point, they might end up unhappy when they’re operational. That way of life demands a lot more than your ability to ruck, run, shoot, move, and communicate.

I’ve heard from those who know that Ranger School is forever changed, and the challenge sought by those attending Ranger School has since been downgraded. There’s a strong opposition in the Army SOF community to integrating women, and more specifically, to modifying the standard. The standard is based on operational research and is not meant to be hard, but is still necessary.

Are there niche roles for women in SOF? Probably, and there are already female engagement teams. Women are highly successful and meaningful to our intelligence apparatus and have been for some time. However, orders are laws in a way, and the entire community has been sentenced to implement women into special operations. I have to ask: Why now?

During selection, some events I encountered were so distracting or so taxing, I’m sure they’ll be diffused or removed. Maybe the course was destined to change in light of the new generation of recruits. After all, they are different. Still, that saddens me. The hardest parts of Special Forces training required impervious discipline to suck it up and make it through. Our day of Hell doing physical training with giant logs was probably one of the worst days of my life, physically. I was puking, suffering from motion sickness, and was compelled to put the vomit in my pocket to “carry the weakness with me.” It seems so stupid now, but it was a gut check then. Now, I’ve gone through worse in my life since then, but many opted to voluntarily withdraw that day. Those types of tests of fortitude are critical to producing a mentally and emotionally strong soldier. No doubt it will be assumed irrelevant to the standard, and thus scrapped and set aside as something that might be used again one day.