Changing times

Navy Seals prepare to welcome women to combat roles

The intense physical and mental conditioning it takes to become a SEAL begins with a six-month mind and body obstacle course. (Eric S. Logsdon/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The commander of the Navy’s Special Warfare Command has recommended the SEALS and combat crew jobs be open to women, while warning of the increased risk of injury. Rear Admiral Brian Losey outlined his position in a five-page memo, in which he said “there are no insurmountable obstacles” to women taking the commando roles, but warned of “foreseeable impacts” should they be included in ground combat units. The memo was obtained by AP, just as the U.S. military goes into the final weeks of its discussions about whether to ban women from front-line combat. While there have been reservations expressed by the outgoing Marine Corps commandant, Marine General Joseph Dunford, as to the fitness of women to fully participate in Marine infantry and ground combat jobs, Losey comes to a different conclusion. Arguing that any qualified candidate ought to be allowed to be tested against the standards required to become a special warfare officer “is ultimately the right thing to do and is clearly consistent with the struggle over the centuries to fully represent our nation’s values of fairness and equal opportunity,” he wrote. “With the recent female graduates from the Ranger course, there may be an expectation that there will soon be female graduates from BUD/S,” he said, referring to the SEALs course. “We will welcome any candidates who meet the standards.”

Read the full story at PBS.

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