Female Special Forces/Green Berets

Oct 2018
3
USA
Ever since I was a little girl watching Bear Grylls with my brother I have wanted to join the special forces. At this time I am a 16 y/o national athlete and I still have that passion. My question is, now that the position is open to women why is it not being filled? Is it simply that the women have not yet been able to pass the same training requirements as the men or is it actually harder for a female to pass being that many feel they still should not be allowed?
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
It's no secret that a lot of people both in the army and civilians think that women just aren't as good (on average) as men when it comes to being soldiers. I doubt most Western armies discriminate against them. Some Scandi countries would probably bend over backwards to have a women-only army. A lot of other countries have to take whoever is willing to "take the King's shilling" because there is a much too low interest among the general population to join the army. They take anyone. Most Western armies take women as long as they make the cut.

Special forces are something different though. It's usually much harder to join some elite or special unit, rightly so. I asume women have on average a harder time making the cut to join any. That's the true reason why you don't see any female Navy SEALs - biology.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,716
Ever since I was a little girl watching Bear Grylls with my brother I have wanted to join the special forces. At this time I am a 16 y/o national athlete and I still have that passion. My question is, now that the position is open to women why is it not being filled? Is it simply that the women have not yet been able to pass the same training requirements as the men or is it actually harder for a female to pass being that many feel they still should not be allowed?
The main issues are first of all a very much smaller pool of potential recruits where there are several thousand male volunteers for various Spec Ops every year. Last I saw the numbers until the last couple of years there were only few dozen female volunteers though that has increased to just over a hundred recently.

Secondly of the few female volunteers deemed to have the potential to complete training so far less than a handful have successfully completed just the preparation and introductory courses. Most Spec Ops units recruit from already serving personal and then it takes a few years to complete training and move to operational missions. The typical profile is someone in early/mid twenties steps onto that career path and is operationally ready in their late 20s to early 30s and most often finished that part of their career by late 30s though certainly there are men who continue to operate into their 40s and even some Green Berets I've heard that were in 50s that is quite rare. The requirements physically are nearly as intense as many professional athletes and the pressure of constant deployments and combat also leads to a smaller length of time serving in a spec ops role.

If you watched much of the training videos and interviews on youtube or know anyone currently serving in the spec ops community the average male recruit loses a huge amount of body weight in training and then gains back the muscles to be able to carry out combat missions within a year or so. That is much more difficult for women to do with less natural testosterone production rapid weight loss followed by massive muscle gain is just harder for women physiologically.

There definitely exists some chauvinism but most men in spec ops have served with women in other roles in the military and overall I would say there is less blatant sexism amongst spec ops community than some other parts of the military. There is a dedication to the mission and the team where the expectation is that everyone does their job without needing help. There does exist a perception that most likely a woman would need help in some combat missions or that men would 'think' she needs help and get distracted from their own jobs. I can not speak to how valid such a concern is but I will say that from my own experience while women can do most jobs in the military just fine on very tough physical tasks women will usually ask for help or try and do it themselves and sustain an injury that requires time off mission capable to heal. I am not saying that women can not do tough physical jobs- but they do get hurt at a higher rate than men when doing those tasks at a high frequency. The statistics just from PT are very clear on that.

The more physically intense jobs that most spec ops are expected to be able to perform are just on another level. I personally know a couple women who have done extensive spec ops training and both were in their early 30 and accomplished triathletes and collegiate stars and were able to meet the requirements... once, twice, a few times. The issue that arose was doing incredibly demanding physical tasks with heavy loads in poor conditions repeatedly without recovery time. Both were nearly medically separated for various injuries but due to prior service career fields and their education levels were able to cross-train into positions that allowed their spec ops exposure and overall dedication to benefit the mission- they just could not sustain the physical requirements.

It is a little secret for most people outside the military that many men in spec ops have trouble as they get older and the number of injuries that result from a career in spec ops that leave many men physically hobbled later in life are something left to the VA and not talked about.

I do expect some women will eventually find themselves in combat within a spec ops role but the numbers if expectations are kept same as the men will always be very low. Look into the physical requirements of ultra endurance athletes or extreme competitive crossfit women and decide if you can maintain that intensity for several years. I think there are women out there that can but for most of those few a career in sports or fitness makes more sense but there are women right now training and in the pipeline who might be mission ready within a few years.
 
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May 2018
890
Michigan
The main issues are first of all a very much smaller pool of potential recruits where there are several thousand male volunteers for various Spec Ops every year. Last I saw the numbers until the last couple of years there were only few dozen female volunteers though that has increased to just over a hundred recently.

Secondly of the few female volunteers deemed to have the potential to complete training so far less than a handful have successfully completed just the preparation and introductory courses. Most Spec Ops units recruit from already serving personal and then it takes a few years to complete training and move to operational missions. The typical profile is someone in early/mid twenties steps onto that career path and is operationally ready in their late 20s to early 30s and most often finished that part of their career by late 30s though certainly there are men who continue to operate into their 40s and even some Green Berets I've heard that were in 50s that is quite rare. The requirements physically are nearly as intense as many professional athletes and the pressure of constant deployments and combat also leads to a smaller length of time serving in a spec ops role.

If you watched much of the training videos and interviews on youtube or know anyone currently serving in the spec ops community the average male recruit loses a huge amount of body weight in training and then gains back the muscles to be able to carry out combat missions within a year or so. That is much more difficult for women to do with less natural testosterone production rapid weight loss followed by massive muscle gain is just harder for women physiologically.

There definitely exists some chauvinism but most men in spec ops have served with women in other roles in the military and overall I would say there is less blatant sexism amongst spec ops community than some other parts of the military. There is a dedication to the mission and the team where the expectation is that everyone does their job without needing help. There does exist a perception that most likely a woman would need help in some combat missions or that men would 'think' she needs help and get distracted from their own jobs. I can not speak to how valid such a concern is but I will say that from my own experience while women can do most jobs in the military just fine on very tough physical tasks women will usually ask for help or try and do it themselves and sustain an injury that requires time off mission capable to heal. I am not saying that women can not do tough physical jobs- but they do get hurt at a higher rate than men when doing those tasks at a high frequency. The statistics just from PT are very clear on that.

The more physically intense jobs that most spec ops are expected to be able to perform are just on another level. I personally know a couple women who have done extensive spec ops training and both were in their early 30 and accomplished triathletes and collegiate stars and were able to meet the requirements... once, twice, a few times. The issue that arose was doing incredibly demanding physical tasks with heavy loads in poor conditions repeatedly without recovery time. Both were nearly medically separated for various injuries but due to prior service career fields and their education levels were able to cross-train into positions that allowed their spec ops exposure and overall dedication to benefit the mission- they just could not sustain the physical requirements.

It is a little secret for most people outside the military that many men in spec ops have trouble as they get older and the amount of injuries that result from a career in spec ops that leave many men physically hobbled later in life are something left to the VA and not talked about.
I can agree with most of this (given my 8 years in the U.S. Army). I generally stay away from contemporary politics (they are boring), but the only advice I'd give to a female seeking an 18 series or 11 series MOS in the U.S. Army is this: your primary mission, above all considerations, is defense of the nation. This is above an political, gender-equality or equal-opportunity BS that is, in all seriousness, just fine for most civilian jobs. If you seek to attain an 18 series or 11 series MOS (or the equivalent in other branches), do it out of a genuine desire to serve. If that is not possible, at least do not do it out of a political agenda.
 
Sep 2018
37
America
I can agree with most of this (given my 8 years in the U.S. Army). I generally stay away from contemporary politics (they are boring), but the only advice I'd give to a female seeking an 18 series or 11 series MOS in the U.S. Army is this: your primary mission, above all considerations, is defense of the nation. This is above an political, gender-equality or equal-opportunity BS that is, in all seriousness, just fine for most civilian jobs. If you seek to attain an 18 series or 11 series MOS (or the equivalent in other branches), do it out of a genuine desire to serve. If that is not possible, at least do not do it out of a political agenda.

Unfortunately, the political agenda will always win out in the long run. When women can`t handle the training standards, the liberals will demand that the standards be lowered to acomodate them, just as what happened in the police and fire departments in the 1990s. Even this early into the gender equality policy, there was a lot of stink around the first two women to pass Ranger school, alegations of stacking the deck in their favor so that they could pass.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Previous administration were the ones pushing rapid integration of females into combat arms roles, current administration has to continue it because female congressional caucus wont allow them to turn back the clock, no matter how bad the idea was in the first place. But that only relates to those units they had already passed initial hurtles before, where standards had been increasingly lowered over years in anticipation to allow at least some of the very top performing females a chance to pass. Pretty much entirely conventional units, and they weren't even that hard to begin with (though not easy, by far).

SOCOM selection is imminently more challenging than basic training, officer training courses, or even Ranger School. There were plans for them too to be integrated but because nobody passed anything yet, the barn door is still intact. Considering SOF is much more important (and used) asset for US defense, its probably a smart move not to rush integratation purely for political purposes. So far warning, those jobs still might largely not be possible.

The job of Special Forces isn't glammerous, its not treking and camping in woods. Its classic bread and butter missions are called Unconventional Warfare (UW) and Foreign Internal Defense (FID). Both of these means an A Team of twelve SF personnel travel to a foreign country, one that happens to have a nasty war occurring, and are embedded into either a conventional unit (FID) or a band of guerrillas (UW) to train them, to lead them in combat. Considering a good amount of the world has no equal rights, especially where we end up deploying (hell holes usually), including a female in an SF A Team could be disastrous, it alone could literally lead to mission failure, to the A Team itself not being accepted and kicked out of host country. While most in the west would think "Just get over it!" the truth is they don't. A lot of those men despise females in positions of power and refuse to work with them. They won't take orders from them, many won't even talk to them. Your tenacity won't win them over, nor your positive mental attitude. Your sex alone is all they need to hate you (besides the fact that you're an infidel or evil American too).

So my point, SF might not be the best fit. However there are other elite units of SOCOM who don't specialize in UW or FIG, they mostly do Direct Action (relatimg to shooting people in the face), if you can actually hack it physically and mentally, you'd probably better serve your country in something like Ranger Regiment, or Air Force SOF, which has superb combat medics called Pararescue (PJ) and Combat Control Teams, whose personnel work alone or in small teams embedded into other SOF units to call in air strikes (often making them the most important person to posses).
 
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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
Ever since I was a little girl watching Bear Grylls with my brother I have wanted to join the special forces. At this time I am a 16 y/o national athlete and I still have that passion. My question is, now that the position is open to women why is it not being filled? Is it simply that the women have not yet been able to pass the same training requirements as the men or is it actually harder for a female to pass being that many feel they still should not be allowed?
My oldest is going into the army and for the special forces you need to pass a lot of tests. In particular the physical ones are tough for women. She had to do tests just to get in for the "normal" army and of the 5 girls that took the tests that day she was the only one that passed.

Btw I think that about a month ago there was some news about the first woman passing 2 of the 3 navy seal tests. But I could be mistaken since it was from a cursory read.
 
May 2017
210
Monterrey
Ever since I was a little girl watching Bear Grylls with my brother I have wanted to join the special forces. At this time I am a 16 y/o national athlete and I still have that passion. My question is, now that the position is open to women why is it not being filled? Is it simply that the women have not yet been able to pass the same training requirements as the men or is it actually harder for a female to pass being that many feel they still should not be allowed?
The special forces are extremely hard, most men can't pass. The incels here spewing their nonsense about biology, liberalism leftist and whatnot are half right in that aspect; but if you are a national athlete you are far more likely than them to make the cut. The standards are just that high. If I were you I would go and ask the army directly, simply to know what kind of training you would need to do to train the right set of muscles. Being an athele is a plus, but no athlete trains running around with a 60kg backpack.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
The special forces are extremely hard, most men can't pass. The incels here spewing their nonsense about biology, liberalism leftist and whatnot are half right in that aspect; but if you are a national athlete you are far more likely than them to make the cut. The standards are just that high. If I were you I would go and ask the army directly, simply to know what kind of training you would need to do to train the right set of muscles. Being an athele is a plus, but no athlete trains running around with a 60kg backpack.
Thank God we have you here, Chad :kiss:
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,230
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Technically there are substantially two aspects to consider:

1. Demand and offer ...
With the level of professionalism of modern military units the real need for mass armies is more theoretical than pragmatic [remember the first Gulf War. The Coalition counted more than 900,000 soldiers, among them 700,000 were American, to defeat the Iraqi Army ... actually it was excessive, to say the least]. This is true also for Special Operations Forces.

Today there are more male candidates able to reach the requested standard to join SOFs than what the SOFs need. If these candidates will pass the training period is a different matter, but they are there. So [this is the pragmatic approach to the question] why to consider also women?

My stance about this is known: I do welcome the possibility that women join SOFs and in case of real war all the potential candidates have to be trained and evaluated [men and women] because a war means an increasing "demand". Anyway, as I was saying, also in case of a real war, today numbers are less important than tech and quality.

So, thinking to the Italian context, where it's not a long time we've got a professional Army and where the offer of personnel is not exceptional [Italians don't like that much to serve in the Army], women become members of elite forces in little percentage. But I say elite forces, not SOFs. As for I know, the Folgore Brigade counts a certain number of women, the Col Moschin doesn't.

I posted a picture of Folgore paratroopers where a woman is visible in a similar thread.



2. Technology.

It's all evident that technology has reduced the importance of human factors in military performances. To be a soldier you don't need to be Batman and to be a member of SOFs you don't need to be Superman [may be Spiderman ...]. The level of performance to reach is the same, but tech has improved, reducing the requested human component.

RL = HC + TC [Requested Level = Human Component + Tech Component].