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Should Women Be Navy SEALs?

News 2011/05/31 20:00:00
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How would the recent raid on Osama bin Laden's secret Pakistani hideaway have been different if female Navy SEALs had been involved? Might bin Laden's wives have been more compliant when seeing a female face? Or would bin Laden have resisted more?

After years of gaining ground in their battle to earn more combat roles in the military, the possibility of female special ops forces could become a reality sooner rather than later.

"As a philosophical thing, there shouldn't be anything that's closed off as a career," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told The Huffington Post.

A ban is still in place on women serving in combat and infantry jobs, but Mabus said there are an increasing amount of women working in support roles in special operations, and he did not dismiss the idea that a qualified woman could one day become an elite commando.

Like the overturning of "don't ask, don't tell," though, that change would require some deliberate, "well-thought-out" measures. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a similar statement last year, telling some ROTC students that he could see women in special forces at some point when "there will be a careful step in that direction."

That first baby step has already happened, thanks to the Navy's recent decision to let women serve on submarines, with eight scheduled to report to their subs in November.

Should women be Navy SEALs?
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Top Opinion

  • Just Jenn for Now 2011/05/31 21:20:40
    Yes
    Just Jenn for Now
    +12
    Physically speaking, women may not be as strong as men are, but they can be quicker, more agile, and able to squeeze in smaller spaces since they naturally have smaller frames. They'd be just as useful as any man is.

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  • PanDuh 2011/06/01 14:39:30
    Yes
    PanDuh
    +2
    Give them the same test given to men. If they past, then their in if not then their not. Wimen can workout and gain muscle similar to men, shocking as it seem. http://www.visualphotos.com/p...
  • srini 2011/06/01 14:29:49
    Undecided
    srini
    +2
    Why not US set up a unit like British SRR (SEAL's are equivalent to SBS--Special Boat Services, less well-known than SAS) and recruit women?
  • thegaln... srini 2011/06/01 16:47:47
    thegalnextdoor
    There is a joke among some about the true Israeli special forces. The existing special forces are great and the Mossad wonderful but if things get really bad just send in a group of Jewish Mommas-- trained and armed. Good idea about a female seals unit. There could be many jobs they could effectively do.
  • Moma Knows 2011/06/01 14:22:50
    Yes
    Moma Knows
    +1
    Yes if a woman is determined she will pass the physical test, I don't think many would even attempt it but I could be wrong. Look through history at women warriors who would cut off one breast because it got in the way of pulling their bow string. I think it all depends on the woman's determination, woman handle pain better than men,but are not physically designed to carry weight in the same distribution as men. I know I would not even consider trying to join Special Ops if I could, with being the only girl in a bunch of brothers, I was brought up to be a "girl" and I don't even know how to change a flat tire, but that being said,it would depend on the woman and I don't think you would have to drop standards or use steroids, but I could see where the woman take longer building the strength.
  • lucky 2011/06/01 14:19:29
    Undecided
    lucky
    +1
    Only if she can go through the exact same physical requirements and only if those already in those units agree.

    Right now woman have different physical requirements then men which in some areas is not very important but when it comes to special ops is extremely important.

    Also im still undecided on whether woman could cause problems in certain scenarios. Most men whether it be by instinct or the way they were raised will defend a woman quicker then another man and im not so sure that wouldnt be a problem when in combative situations.
  • w2xad 2011/06/01 14:11:12
    Yes
    w2xad
    +1
    If they can do what the men do without lowering or changing the standards, YES!!!!
  • synful90 2011/06/01 14:08:25
    Yes
    synful90
    +1
    why not? sure its tough but if they have the drive for it go ahead! it should be an opportunity for anyone who can make it through that training woman or not lol women can be tough we give birth to babies....enough said
  • Roy George 2011/06/01 13:38:30
    No
    Roy George
    +2
    I mean no disrespect, but it is truth, but maybe not politically correct, that physically women cannot do some of the things men do. Hell 99 per cent of the men in the Armed Forces can't handle Special Ops.
  • Bob DiN Roy George 2011/06/01 15:18:37
    Bob DiN
    +1
    But some muscle bitches are stronger than men.
  • Captain K.A. 2011/06/01 13:37:38
    Yes
    Captain K.A.
    +1
    I'm pretty sure women can pull the trigger on a gun and run for miles to. They can even solve complicated problems at times.
  • Dave**Gay for Girls** 2011/06/01 13:23:03
  • Tau_Seti 2011/06/01 12:27:11
  • Matt 2011/06/01 12:23:34
    No
    Matt
    +5
    Link to the UK's study into women in the armed forces.
    http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyre...
    During tests it was determined that differences between women and men in their capacity to develop muscle strength and aerobic fitness are such that only approximately 1% of women can equal the performance of the average man, hence the decision to restrict the former from spear point units - infantry, SF, armoured corps etc.

    The New Zealand Army, which has always allowed women to serve on the frontline, has 36 women deployed overseas currently out of 470 deployed personnel.

    Posts include East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, Sinai and in the Middle East - Damascus, Israel and Lebanon - with the United Nations.

    HQ Joint Forces NZ senior communications advisor Nicole Munro said there were no women in New Zealand's SAS force, not because they weren't allowed, but because they had been unable to pass the rigorous entry test.

    She said the SAS entry test, which was exceptionally demanding, as it is in Australia, was the same for both men and women.

    So, in countries like NZ and Australia now, where women have the right to try out for the elite soldier's jobs, it sounds like physically there are issues passing the requirements.
  • Captain... Matt 2011/06/01 13:38:21
    Captain K.A.
    lol. You sure went to town with this.
  • Matt Captain... 2011/06/01 19:25:05
    Matt
    lol yes - i found this subject interesting - I live in Australia and the leader of the armed forces here a year or so ago said women should have the equal right to fight and die for their country.
    He also indicated that the armed forces also had no women capable of passing the brutal SAS entry requirements.
    I come from New Zealand, where there is equal rights as well re the New Zealand SAS - and no women, despite many trying, have managed to pass the entry requirements there as well. And believe me, NZ women can be as hard as nails, I have 3 NZ sisters and a NZ mum...
  • Captain... Matt 2011/06/03 17:05:33 (edited)
    Captain K.A.
    So then why do they have to pass the same type of tests. There is strength in variety, I know it's a complicated concept to understand if one has no experience with any sort of strategy of any kind.

    Rights are for the government to decide, leave the actual strategy up to the military. They can follow laws put out by the government and still manage to function you might be surprised to see.

    I find human rights more important then any slight irrelevant benefit you might gain by having nothing but only one demographic in a particular mission.

    We have the technology!
  • Matt Captain... 2011/06/04 13:24:48 (edited)
    Matt
    i raise my hand quickly to having no experience with warfare strategy. There is strength in variety, but as you say - leave the actual strategy to the military, who for the most part deem it not suitable to have females in these roles.

    why should they have to pass the same type of tests? - because they to, will be walking the same distances, with the same weight bags on their backs - facing the same enemies in close combat, enemies who wont say, oh its a women, i'll just put one hand behind my back for this fight...

    I think any women seeking entrance to the elite fighting units would expect no concession to be given to them anyway.
  • Captain... Matt 2011/06/04 23:53:08 (edited)
    Captain K.A.
    No, I'm right,
  • Matt Captain... 2011/06/05 16:57:05
    Matt
    ok you are right and women can gain entry with a lower set of standerds, well done, and thank you for your contribution to equal rights
  • Captain... Matt 2011/06/06 16:46:12 (edited)
    Captain K.A.
    It's not rocket science.
  • basketc... Matt 2011/06/01 16:10:41
    basketcase<3
    +3
    So, if they don't pss an entry test, don't admit them. But why deny the capable woman (however small they are in number) a chance to serve our country?
    Besides, woman have much better pain endurance, and are more trainable and mentally stable. More specifically, they make excellent negotiators and snipers. I have an article for you, also:
    http://userpages.aug.com/capt...
    The end of the article sums it up pretty well:
    "Frankly, women are better suited mentally for this job than most men," said Dolan who has learned the sniper craft from the Marines and from the Army and who saw duty as a Marine sniper 10 years ago during the Persian Gulf War. "A woman is best suited to counter a woman sniper," he added. "That's important because more than 50 percent of the countries that have been considered hostile to the United States, including North Vietnam and North Korea, have used women snipers.

    "Women can shoot better, by and large, and they're easier to train because they don't have the inflated egos that a lot of men bring to these programs," Dolan said. "Women will ask for help if they need it, and they will tell you what they think." Dolan has designed the countersniper program for Air National Guard security people, and he has no reservations about training women who can hand...

    So, if they don't pss an entry test, don't admit them. But why deny the capable woman (however small they are in number) a chance to serve our country?
    Besides, woman have much better pain endurance, and are more trainable and mentally stable. More specifically, they make excellent negotiators and snipers. I have an article for you, also:
    http://userpages.aug.com/capt...
    The end of the article sums it up pretty well:
    "Frankly, women are better suited mentally for this job than most men," said Dolan who has learned the sniper craft from the Marines and from the Army and who saw duty as a Marine sniper 10 years ago during the Persian Gulf War. "A woman is best suited to counter a woman sniper," he added. "That's important because more than 50 percent of the countries that have been considered hostile to the United States, including North Vietnam and North Korea, have used women snipers.

    "Women can shoot better, by and large, and they're easier to train because they don't have the inflated egos that a lot of men bring to these programs," Dolan said. "Women will ask for help if they need it, and they will tell you what they think." Dolan has designed the countersniper program for Air National Guard security people, and he has no reservations about training women who can handle the 15-hour days of running and shooting and camouflage lessons in the woods.

    The students had to complete a two-day and night field training exercise at the Arkansas National Guard's Fort Chaffee before they graduated. "The same standards apply to men and women," Dolan insisted. "This course is designed to test their physical limits and their emotional balance." Despite Donaldson's concerns, Dolan said, the sniper school's first woman student shot well with her scope-mounted, high-power rifle on the range and was an above average student.
    (more)
  • BubbaHoTep basketc... 2011/06/01 17:48:54
    BubbaHoTep
    "Besides, woman have much better pain endurance"

    I keep hearing this, but there is no basis for it that I can find. New studies show the opposite, actually...but still say there is no real basis for comparison.
  • Matt basketc... 2011/06/01 19:20:14
    Matt
    i say then let them be a sniper! as the program you linked to is for protecting airforce bases and assets, having personnel with those skills is great.
    Thats not for going out for close encounters with the enemy though...

    i disagree totally with the comment that they have better pain endurance - Brain scans show that when men are in pain the area concerned with analysis and problem-solving is the most active. When women are subjected to the same painful stimulus - usually having their arm stuck in a bucket of iced water - it's the limbic system, the part of the brain concerned with emotional responses, that kicks into overdrive.

    When men are asked to forget how annoyed they feel about being in pain and to focus more on the unpleasant sensation itself, their level of pain reduces. This doesn't happen in women; it's as if they can't divorce the emotional from the physical aspects of discomfort.
  • basketc... Matt 2011/06/06 20:01:15
    basketcase<3
    Alright, but I'm still not convinced that women should not be allowed a chance into combat. I say that they be tested in training just like men; if they don't make it, don't let them in. But I'm sure there are still some women who could complete the training despite all the disadvantages. I don't agree with saying 'Well, most won't make it, so ban them completely.' Some women can handle it; and training will test how they overcome the barriers. Let them try, they only want to defend their country.
  • jocular... Matt 2011/06/01 16:51:22
    jocularfowl
    Though you voted no, you seem to be providing reasons why they SHOULD be allowed.

    *If* the specific woman is capable of passing the test, then refusing her is nothing short of bigotry. If said woman can't pass it, she can't pass it.
  • Matt jocular... 2011/06/01 19:10:41
    Matt
    i voted no because if they can't pass the test - why waste the time going through a fruitless exercise for the sake of being PC?
    If only 1% of women have the strength of the average man, and even ultra fit, hardened elite soldiers fail the entry requirements in great numbers then realistically, whats the point?
    it doesnt matter if women are mentally tougher, better snipers or better organised and smarter than the men - if they can't cart a 100lb load around with them, or have the strength for close combat they could potentially be a burden to their team.
    that being said, I'm sure there are many females trained to an incredibly high level - by the CIA etc as well as in the armed forces.
  • NarcolepticGoat 2011/06/01 12:10:07
    Yes
    NarcolepticGoat
    +3
    They certainly should be given the chance to *try* training. Assuming they don't change it. If they can pass, why shouldn't they become one of the teams?
  • 222. 2011/06/01 12:10:06
    No
    222.
    +5
    There's no time to change your tampon on the battlefield, Nancy.
  • Bob DiN 222. 2011/06/01 15:20:03
    Bob DiN
    +1
    Use a sand bag.
  • 222. Bob DiN 2011/06/02 07:06:17
    222.
    For someone who hates my comments, you sure do give me a lot of raves.
  • Bob DiN 222. 2011/06/02 07:20:16
    Bob DiN
    I enjoy the comedy.
  • 222. Bob DiN 2011/06/02 07:31:26
  • Bob DiN 222. 2011/06/02 12:57:11
  • 222. Bob DiN 2011/06/02 19:07:59
    222.
    Okay.
  • Bob DiN 222. 2011/06/02 21:34:06
    Bob DiN
    +1
    Okay, Good Bye.
  • 222. Bob DiN 2011/06/07 00:15:52
    222.
    Hello!
  • jeffro2010 2011/06/01 12:04:37
    Yes
    jeffro2010
    +3
    If they can keep up with the men then yes. There should not be lower standards. If the men have to run a mile in 7 minutes, the women should have to. Special forces are the best of the best. I personally believe that women should be allowed to serve where ever the are qualified.
  • sockpuppet jeffro2010 2011/06/01 12:33:36
    sockpuppet
    +2
    Our military gives them 'special' performance standards that are laughably low.
    I think a lot of people here belive the Hollywood myth of True Equality.
  • jocular... jeffro2010 2011/06/01 16:52:19
    jocularfowl
    A mile in seven minutes isn't that fast.
  • BubbaHoTep jocular... 2011/06/01 17:52:21
    BubbaHoTep
    Nope. A seven minute mile pace ain't bad for 2 or more miles.

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