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United States Armed Forces finally recognizes combat duty of women

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Posts

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Well, I think you have dual myths there...both that soldiers or even just infantrymen are superhuman beefcakes like you see in (some) action movies, or alternately that nowadays they just push buttons and strength is irrelevant in the future of warfare.

    Not that I think you're arguing the latter, but i do sometimes see that end of the false dichotomy alluded to.

  • rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    Syrdon wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    But the main question I would ask you is why isn't the army going the other way, if strength is so important. We could be force feeding soldiers whey protein and cretin and making them lift weights until they could lift twice what they do now.
    My understanding of the answer to this comes in a few parts:
    1) There seem to be issues getting everyone up to current PT standards. This strikes me as more of a leadership issue than anything else, but it should probably be handled before you raise those.
    2) It's more expensive than what we're already doing, I suspect enough more that DARPA programs are a cheaper alternative
    2a) Also, getting this implemented seems like a bureaucratic nightmare in which you have to pick a bunch of values that manage cost and efficiency.
    3) We can sort of get by with what have. Not well, but its not a problem that desperately needs fixed.
    4ish) There's probably a public relations issue that you'd need to deal with, along the lines of getting crap for training super soldiers. I'm explaining this one poorly, but basically I think there's a hurdle in getting a substantial portion of the Army to significantly above normal fit people and not creeping the public out.
    Oh sure, I wasn't actual suggesting that. I was just pointing out that commanders and engineers keep coming up with packs that average men can lift and man portable gear that can do what it needs to do.

    Basically, I disagree with the notion that we couldn't overcome a lot of the hurdles for women with some doctrinal or technological changes with no loss and maybe some gain in effectiveness.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    rockrnger wrote: »
    Syrdon wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    But the main question I would ask you is why isn't the army going the other way, if strength is so important. We could be force feeding soldiers whey protein and cretin and making them lift weights until they could lift twice what they do now.
    My understanding of the answer to this comes in a few parts:
    1) There seem to be issues getting everyone up to current PT standards. This strikes me as more of a leadership issue than anything else, but it should probably be handled before you raise those.
    2) It's more expensive than what we're already doing, I suspect enough more that DARPA programs are a cheaper alternative
    2a) Also, getting this implemented seems like a bureaucratic nightmare in which you have to pick a bunch of values that manage cost and efficiency.
    3) We can sort of get by with what have. Not well, but its not a problem that desperately needs fixed.
    4ish) There's probably a public relations issue that you'd need to deal with, along the lines of getting crap for training super soldiers. I'm explaining this one poorly, but basically I think there's a hurdle in getting a substantial portion of the Army to significantly above normal fit people and not creeping the public out.
    Oh sure, I wasn't actual suggesting that. I was just pointing out that commanders and engineers keep coming up with packs that average men can lift and man portable gear that can do what it needs to do.

    Basically, I disagree with the notion that we couldn't overcome a lot of the hurdles for women with some doctrinal or technological changes with no loss and maybe some gain in effectiveness.
    I'll definitely give you that we can manage a lot of the hurdles by being a bit clever, but some of the issues just aren't going away. The biggest things that I can think of are carrying ammo, and crew served weapons. There's only so light you can make something like an 80mm mortar (they're down to 70ish pounds, which is actually kinda impressive), and ammo for things like M240s is just not going to get lighter. If the Army decides it wants to increase the amount of ammo everyone carries by 50%, there are some weapons where we'd need to add another person to help (hell, I think at 10% you'd start taking mortar guys out with attrition on their backs).

    As far as women handling those roles though, there's a really easy way to tell if they can: try it. I don't see a strong enough case to justify not making an attempt, just a strong enough case to make sure you keep data so you can assess.

    edit: on a semi related note: jesus 155 rounds are heavy. I mean, I knew they weren't light but if wikipedia is correct I was 50 pounds light.

    Syrdon on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    Syrdon wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    Syrdon wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    But the main question I would ask you is why isn't the army going the other way, if strength is so important. We could be force feeding soldiers whey protein and cretin and making them lift weights until they could lift twice what they do now.
    My understanding of the answer to this comes in a few parts:
    1) There seem to be issues getting everyone up to current PT standards. This strikes me as more of a leadership issue than anything else, but it should probably be handled before you raise those.
    2) It's more expensive than what we're already doing, I suspect enough more that DARPA programs are a cheaper alternative
    2a) Also, getting this implemented seems like a bureaucratic nightmare in which you have to pick a bunch of values that manage cost and efficiency.
    3) We can sort of get by with what have. Not well, but its not a problem that desperately needs fixed.
    4ish) There's probably a public relations issue that you'd need to deal with, along the lines of getting crap for training super soldiers. I'm explaining this one poorly, but basically I think there's a hurdle in getting a substantial portion of the Army to significantly above normal fit people and not creeping the public out.
    Oh sure, I wasn't actual suggesting that. I was just pointing out that commanders and engineers keep coming up with packs that average men can lift and man portable gear that can do what it needs to do.

    Basically, I disagree with the notion that we couldn't overcome a lot of the hurdles for women with some doctrinal or technological changes with no loss and maybe some gain in effectiveness.
    I'll definitely give you that we can manage a lot of the hurdles by being a bit clever, but some of the issues just aren't going away. The biggest things that I can think of are carrying ammo, and crew served weapons. There's only so light you can make something like an 80mm mortar (they're down to 70ish pounds, which is actually kinda impressive), and ammo for things like M240s is just not going to get lighter. If the Army decides it wants to increase the amount of ammo everyone carries by 50%, there are some weapons where we'd need to add another person to help (hell, I think at 10% you'd start taking mortar guys out with attrition on their backs).

    As far as women handling those roles though, there's a really easy way to tell if they can: try it. I don't see a strong enough case to justify not making an attempt, just a strong enough case to make sure you keep data so you can assess.

    edit: on a semi related note: jesus 155 rounds are heavy. I mean, I knew they weren't light but if wikipedia is correct I was 50 pounds light.

    This article is from last year but a female Marine captain was concerned about the ammo carrying and whatnot if women served in live combat roles.

    http://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/article/get-over-it-we-are-not-all-created-equal
    Not being able to physically execute to the standards already established at IOC, which have been battle tested and proven, will produce a slower operational speed and tempo resulting in increased time of exposure to enemy forces and a higher risk of combat injury or death.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Legitimately, it does look like a lot of that is based on her personal experience and her analysis of some statistics I haven't seen. Her analysis may be correct, or she might be missing some other factor that's driving female injury dropout rate. Unfortunately, I don't even know where to start looking for a more clear analysis of the statistics.

    edit: that said, she clearly has a legitimate concern that's worth further investigation. in case that wasn't clear

    She's also right that what works for one service may be deeply stupid for another, and that they should be handled individually. I'd probably go further and break it down to MOSs at a minimum, although I can see how that might be an administrative nightmare for everyone involved.

    Syrdon on
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Syrdon wrote: »
    Legitimately, it does look like a lot of that is based on her personal experience and her analysis of some statistics I haven't seen. Her analysis may be correct, or she might be missing some other factor that's driving female injury dropout rate. Unfortunately, I don't even know where to start looking for a more clear analysis of the statistics.

    edit: that said, she clearly has a legitimate concern that's worth further investigation. in case that wasn't clear

    She's also right that what works for one service may be deeply stupid for another, and that they should be handled individually. I'd probably go further and break it down to MOSs at a minimum, although I can see how that might be an administrative nightmare for everyone involved.

    Doesn't this really still come down to "let's be objective about our standards"?

    I mean the big benefit is: you can set one standard. You can even raise it so you exclude pretty much all women. But the thing about that? You'll exclude pretty much as many men as well, but be left over with a force with capabilities you were forced to really think about.

    I would argue it's a very good thing to be thinking about standards outside of gender-specificity, because it means you have to ask whether something makes sense, or if in fact should be somewhat higher or so. It can only be a good thing to have the military studying it's standards and making sure they make sense - and hell - it'd be really great to see more work done on tying physical fitness standards back to expected combat situations and the like as well.

    BastableCalixtusSyrdon
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Doesn't this really still come down to "let's be objective about our standards"?

    I mean the big benefit is: you can set one standard. You can even raise it so you exclude pretty much all women. But the thing about that? You'll exclude pretty much as many men as well, but be left over with a force with capabilities you were forced to really think about.

    I would argue it's a very good thing to be thinking about standards outside of gender-specificity, because it means you have to ask whether something makes sense, or if in fact should be somewhat higher or so. It can only be a good thing to have the military studying it's standards and making sure they make sense - and hell - it'd be really great to see more work done on tying physical fitness standards back to expected combat situations and the like as well.

    The current men's standard does this, you don't need to raise it. Which is the point, it shouldn't be lowered, but people seem to want to lower it for some reason.

    Cabezone on
  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    Cabezone wrote: »
    Doesn't this really still come down to "let's be objective about our standards"?

    I mean the big benefit is: you can set one standard. You can even raise it so you exclude pretty much all women. But the thing about that? You'll exclude pretty much as many men as well, but be left over with a force with capabilities you were forced to really think about.

    I would argue it's a very good thing to be thinking about standards outside of gender-specificity, because it means you have to ask whether something makes sense, or if in fact should be somewhat higher or so. It can only be a good thing to have the military studying it's standards and making sure they make sense - and hell - it'd be really great to see more work done on tying physical fitness standards back to expected combat situations and the like as well.

    The current men's standard does this, you don't need to raise it. Which is the point, it shouldn't be lowered, but people seem to want to lower it for some reason.
    Arguably, there are roles where you just don't need to meet it though, and they're likely to become more prominent rather than less. Drone operators have no real reason they need to be anything more than fit, and those rolls are growing in all 4 services. The more I think about it, the less I think you can manage anything that even looks like one size fits all for a given service, although you can probably come close.

    But, yes, mostly what this is is an argument for careful consideration of what standards you need to complete your mission. If that excludes women, oh well. If it excludes men, also oh well. I would love to believe that the Army will pull that off in the near future, but I'm not going to hold my breath. It's a political issue, so it's going to be handled politically and hopefully someone will manage to minimize the fallout from that.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    One nice thing about this coinciding with the drawdown in Afghanistan: it does allow us the ability to experiment a bit. We don't necessarily need every single combat brigade to be combat ready right this moment, so if you were super concerned about a given MOS (say infantry) you could always pick a couple/few brigades as a test bed. Push some females through infantry training, see how that goes, and filter them out into those brigades. Then you can push them in a field training environment as well, see how it goes. After a couple/few years I'd think you'd get a pretty good feel for what's working or what isn't.

    You'd probably want to do this anyway, since you can only push so many recruits through IET at a time, so you'd only be training female infantrymen at a fairly low rate (assuming either a low recruit rate or high attrition rate, which is likely).

    You could still push female soldiers down into combat battalions in every other brigade simultaneously, but just not push them into combat arms MOSs (or perhaps not into line companies...which only have like two positions per company that are non-combat MOSs anyway).

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    Soldiers follow orders, yes? And disobeying these orders is bad and met with punishment. One of those orders is to not have sex in combat zones. And somehow, punishing those who disobey that order is a problem?

    For the record, my single favorite thing about the US military is that it punishes adultery. I just wish it wasn't discouraged as a sole charge for military prosecution.

    Space, buddy, I am going to do you a solid here and help you not look like an asshole. The fact that adultery is a punishable offense isn't ACTUALLY your favorite thing about the military, right? You like it. It might be your favorite thing about the UCMJ. But your favorite thing about an organization that killed Osama Bin Laden isn't that it's illegal to fuck someone who isn't your wife.

    Right?

    Fair enough. I may have gotten a little carried away. The institution's high points are obviously it's many victories to protect our country and the world, and killing Osama Bin Laden and defeating the 3rd reich are just high points in an incredibly distinguished history. I also really like that the institution imposes standards on its members. Just one of many reasons that I respect the hell out of our military.

    And therefore want them punished even more harshly for no reason other than some still aren't slavishly obeying your personal values.

    Your sense of respect is jacked.

    Bastable
  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    My feelings boil down to, if you're afraid of unit cohesion because "ew, girls" your unit probably sucks in the first place.

    Dark Raven XPLA
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Quid wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    Soldiers follow orders, yes? And disobeying these orders is bad and met with punishment. One of those orders is to not have sex in combat zones. And somehow, punishing those who disobey that order is a problem?

    For the record, my single favorite thing about the US military is that it punishes adultery. I just wish it wasn't discouraged as a sole charge for military prosecution.

    Space, buddy, I am going to do you a solid here and help you not look like an asshole. The fact that adultery is a punishable offense isn't ACTUALLY your favorite thing about the military, right? You like it. It might be your favorite thing about the UCMJ. But your favorite thing about an organization that killed Osama Bin Laden isn't that it's illegal to fuck someone who isn't your wife.

    Right?

    Fair enough. I may have gotten a little carried away. The institution's high points are obviously it's many victories to protect our country and the world, and killing Osama Bin Laden and defeating the 3rd reich are just high points in an incredibly distinguished history. I also really like that the institution imposes standards on its members. Just one of many reasons that I respect the hell out of our military.

    And therefore want them punished even more harshly for no reason other than some still aren't slavishly obeying your personal values.

    Your sense of respect is jacked.

    I don't think there is vie in continuing this. The revaluation that "SKFM cares a lot about rules and believes there is no such thing as a disproportionate punisent because people can avoid all punishment by following the rules" is hardly shocking, but also not very related to this thread.

    Re: things like mortar shell weight, could the answer just be that women soldiers who can't lift those shells could just serve in combat positions that don't require lifting mortar shells?

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Egret wrote: »
    I just noticed, "adultery is THE ONE ACT that is always wrong"

    Logically, rape is not always wrong


    hahahahahaha

    is skfm todd akin by any chance?

    Perhaps a bit hyperbolic. Yes, rape is always wrong, and prison rape is a real problem that needs to be fixed.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
    Hacksaw
  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    Seriously. I mean, if you want to see rape culture in action, you need look no further than America's prisons.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    Re: things like mortar shell weight, could the answer just be that women soldiers who can't lift those shells could just serve in combat positions that don't require lifting mortar shells?

    Don't they load mortars with little trolleys that hold the shell level on a rack and raise them up with the pull of a lever? 155 pound shells sound like it'd be too much on anyone's back, man or woman.

  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    I'm not one for lowering the standards simply to allow women in combat. I definitely see the practical reasons for the minimum standards being what they are, and think that a double standard for requirements does more to hurt women then help them in the long run.

    For all practical matters, even if no woman can meet the objective standards - I assume some SOF standards, where even the men who can meet the standards are the exception, are close to this - it should still be open to women to try, and fail. If women wash out because they can't meet the same standard as everyone else, so be it.

    Now, that said, I definitely think that there should be more open thinking on the standards, and why they are set. Perhaps the main reason strength is so important - like many people said here - is so that any soldier can pick up and move any (injured) soldier. If the maximum acceptable weight standards were lowered by a few percent, the demand for pure strength wouldn't be so significant and our lighter and fitter force could focus on other needs. Maybe the military could have a lower standard, but incorporate more things like mandatory strength training on the low end.

    Perhaps weight should be given a higher priority than it is now - new weapons and equipment could incorporate more composites and features like automatic loaders or caseless ammunition. Hell, maybe the military can put more emphasis on tools like 'big dog' to help carry equipment in all terrain, reducing the equipment that all of the soldiers personally carry. This would not only benefit women, but would benefit the force as a whole. Like mcdermott said - the amount of equipment our soldiers are carrying is pushing the limits of what even exceptionally fit men are capable of.

    Modifying the way we fight war because of new demands isn't something new. It's possible we'll find that incorporating changes that allow more women to fight improve the force as a whole.

    rockrnger
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    My feelings boil down to, if you're afraid of unit cohesion because "ew, girls" your unit probably sucks in the first place.

    I have heard from a friend in the JAG corps of certain instances where gender caused some issues in the Navy. It's not a completely groundless concern. It's just a concern that isn't compelling because

    1. The instances are very rare
    2. The instances where it comes up before JAG aren't more common than other serious personnel issues where gender is a non-factor, teenage boys being sufficiently capable of dickery when left to their own devices
    3. One should not establish a gender-wide exclusionary policy based on these rare examples of bad conduct any more than we should exclude men from combat roles because of the small minority that are charged with rape.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I don't think there is vie in continuing this. The revaluation that "SKFM cares a lot about rules and believes there is no such thing as a disproportionate punisent because people can avoid all punishment by following the rules" is hardly shocking, but also not very related to this thread.

    Then stop bringing it up. You're the one who keeps posting your myopic views on how things should work. Not other people.

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2013
    I thought on it a bit more, and I think I may have gone a bit too far down the law and order path in this thread. Regardless of what I think would be ideal in a perfect world, it strikes me that we are probably striking the right balance more or less on this issue in practice, and that we probably don't need to do much more in response to integrating women into combat roles. The one nagging problem which I would love to see us address (and this may be the best time to do so) is the under reporting or rapes in the military, but I don't think this problem should materially worsen with women in combat roles.

    spacekungfuman on
    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
    Julius
  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    My feelings boil down to, if you're afraid of unit cohesion because "ew, girls" your unit probably sucks in the first place.

    I have heard from a friend in the JAG corps of certain instances where gender caused some issues in the Navy. It's not a completely groundless concern. It's just a concern that isn't compelling because

    1. The instances are very rare
    2. The instances where it comes up before JAG aren't more common than other serious personnel issues where gender is a non-factor, teenage boys being sufficiently capable of dickery when left to their own devices
    3. One should not establish a gender-wide exclusionary policy based on these rare examples of bad conduct any more than we should exclude men from combat roles because of the small minority that are charged with rape.

    So basically this all nicely ties back to my original assertion of "If you can't handle serving in the same unit/squad/whatever with women, you're probably no fun to serve with in the first place"?

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Re: things like mortar shell weight, could the answer just be that women soldiers who can't lift those shells could just serve in combat positions that don't require lifting mortar shells?

    Don't they load mortars with little trolleys that hold the shell level on a rack and raise them up with the pull of a lever? 155 pound shells sound like it'd be too much on anyone's back, man or woman.
    I believe there are still many instances in which 155 shells are moved by hand. People fairly regularly bench press those sorts of weights, and lift them from the floor to near or above their head. I would expect that there are a set of injuries that have much higher frequencies in loaders than other service members though, largely from repetitive stress. I believe the reason for continuing to do all the work by hand is that the hydraulic methods are all slower than people can be (note: if you're clever, maybe you can fix this. But maybe maintenance costs or production costs go up with that).

    edit: meant to respond to @skfm's quote that's also quoted here: If there's a substantial need for upper body strength for some task, and there are no women that can manage it[1], then I think the reasonable thing to do would be to simply move on with the people that can handle it. That said, if all you have is that they will be at increased risk for some set of injuries, I think the right thing to do is inform them of all the risks you're aware of and to provide some sort of alternate promotion path if they decide those sound unreasonable[2].

    1: Potentially, there is also the case where equipment might need to be expensively retrofitted for a very small number of women who could otherwise manage it, in which case I would suggest that you not allow it. Not that I can come up with anything that would apply, but it's worth mentioning.

    2: This one gets tricky, because you have a pair of issues that you may need to balance. On the one hand, you don't want to require someone to put themselves at greater risk than their male counterparts would for an equal chance of advancement. On the other hand, you might end up in a case where all the advancement routes provide unequal risk. How you balance those is a problem best left until after you have data to show you need to care though.

    Syrdon on
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    zagdrob wrote: »
    I'm not one for lowering the standards simply to allow women in combat. I definitely see the practical reasons for the minimum standards being what they are, and think that a double standard for requirements does more to hurt women then help them in the long run.

    For all practical matters, even if no woman can meet the objective standards - I assume some SOF standards, where even the men who can meet the standards are the exception, are close to this - it should still be open to women to try, and fail. If women wash out because they can't meet the same standard as everyone else, so be it.

    Now, that said, I definitely think that there should be more open thinking on the standards, and why they are set. Perhaps the main reason strength is so important - like many people said here - is so that any soldier can pick up and move any (injured) soldier. If the maximum acceptable weight standards were lowered by a few percent, the demand for pure strength wouldn't be so significant and our lighter and fitter force could focus on other needs. Maybe the military could have a lower standard, but incorporate more things like mandatory strength training on the low end.

    Perhaps weight should be given a higher priority than it is now - new weapons and equipment could incorporate more composites and features like automatic loaders or caseless ammunition. Hell, maybe the military can put more emphasis on tools like 'big dog' to help carry equipment in all terrain, reducing the equipment that all of the soldiers personally carry. This would not only benefit women, but would benefit the force as a whole. Like mcdermott said - the amount of equipment our soldiers are carrying is pushing the limits of what even exceptionally fit men are capable of.

    Modifying the way we fight war because of new demands isn't something new. It's possible we'll find that incorporating changes that allow more women to fight improve the force as a whole.

    Are you unaware that military research already does all this? They always try to make shit as light as possible.

    Cabezone on
  • DarklyreDarklyre Registered User regular
    Cabezone wrote: »
    zagdrob wrote: »
    I'm not one for lowering the standards simply to allow women in combat. I definitely see the practical reasons for the minimum standards being what they are, and think that a double standard for requirements does more to hurt women then help them in the long run.

    For all practical matters, even if no woman can meet the objective standards - I assume some SOF standards, where even the men who can meet the standards are the exception, are close to this - it should still be open to women to try, and fail. If women wash out because they can't meet the same standard as everyone else, so be it.

    Now, that said, I definitely think that there should be more open thinking on the standards, and why they are set. Perhaps the main reason strength is so important - like many people said here - is so that any soldier can pick up and move any (injured) soldier. If the maximum acceptable weight standards were lowered by a few percent, the demand for pure strength wouldn't be so significant and our lighter and fitter force could focus on other needs. Maybe the military could have a lower standard, but incorporate more things like mandatory strength training on the low end.

    Perhaps weight should be given a higher priority than it is now - new weapons and equipment could incorporate more composites and features like automatic loaders or caseless ammunition. Hell, maybe the military can put more emphasis on tools like 'big dog' to help carry equipment in all terrain, reducing the equipment that all of the soldiers personally carry. This would not only benefit women, but would benefit the force as a whole. Like mcdermott said - the amount of equipment our soldiers are carrying is pushing the limits of what even exceptionally fit men are capable of.

    Modifying the way we fight war because of new demands isn't something new. It's possible we'll find that incorporating changes that allow more women to fight improve the force as a whole.

    Are you unaware that military research already does all this? They always try to make shit as light as possible.

    Yea, AFAIK the military always tries to make things lighter, so that soldiers can carry more. :P

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    The consumer level of goods should be enough evidence for anyone that all things are pushed to be made in a lighter-weight form. And as such this is obviously something of value to the military. Probably moreso. And probably some innovations for the consumer level were brought about by military application and need.

    Side note: A little weirded out to see people discussing sex in this thread.

    Nobody likes me but that's okay. I'm used to it.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Darklyre wrote: »
    Cabezone wrote: »
    zagdrob wrote: »
    I'm not one for lowering the standards simply to allow women in combat. I definitely see the practical reasons for the minimum standards being what they are, and think that a double standard for requirements does more to hurt women then help them in the long run.

    For all practical matters, even if no woman can meet the objective standards - I assume some SOF standards, where even the men who can meet the standards are the exception, are close to this - it should still be open to women to try, and fail. If women wash out because they can't meet the same standard as everyone else, so be it.

    Now, that said, I definitely think that there should be more open thinking on the standards, and why they are set. Perhaps the main reason strength is so important - like many people said here - is so that any soldier can pick up and move any (injured) soldier. If the maximum acceptable weight standards were lowered by a few percent, the demand for pure strength wouldn't be so significant and our lighter and fitter force could focus on other needs. Maybe the military could have a lower standard, but incorporate more things like mandatory strength training on the low end.

    Perhaps weight should be given a higher priority than it is now - new weapons and equipment could incorporate more composites and features like automatic loaders or caseless ammunition. Hell, maybe the military can put more emphasis on tools like 'big dog' to help carry equipment in all terrain, reducing the equipment that all of the soldiers personally carry. This would not only benefit women, but would benefit the force as a whole. Like mcdermott said - the amount of equipment our soldiers are carrying is pushing the limits of what even exceptionally fit men are capable of.

    Modifying the way we fight war because of new demands isn't something new. It's possible we'll find that incorporating changes that allow more women to fight improve the force as a whole.

    Are you unaware that military research already does all this? They always try to make shit as light as possible.

    Yea, AFAIK the military always tries to make things lighter, so that soldiers can carry more. :P

    Except the thing -you're- picked to carry. That was designed in 1953 and is apparently made entirely of steel.

  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Darklyre wrote: »
    Cabezone wrote: »
    zagdrob wrote: »
    I'm not one for lowering the standards simply to allow women in combat. I definitely see the practical reasons for the minimum standards being what they are, and think that a double standard for requirements does more to hurt women then help them in the long run.

    For all practical matters, even if no woman can meet the objective standards - I assume some SOF standards, where even the men who can meet the standards are the exception, are close to this - it should still be open to women to try, and fail. If women wash out because they can't meet the same standard as everyone else, so be it.

    Now, that said, I definitely think that there should be more open thinking on the standards, and why they are set. Perhaps the main reason strength is so important - like many people said here - is so that any soldier can pick up and move any (injured) soldier. If the maximum acceptable weight standards were lowered by a few percent, the demand for pure strength wouldn't be so significant and our lighter and fitter force could focus on other needs. Maybe the military could have a lower standard, but incorporate more things like mandatory strength training on the low end.

    Perhaps weight should be given a higher priority than it is now - new weapons and equipment could incorporate more composites and features like automatic loaders or caseless ammunition. Hell, maybe the military can put more emphasis on tools like 'big dog' to help carry equipment in all terrain, reducing the equipment that all of the soldiers personally carry. This would not only benefit women, but would benefit the force as a whole. Like mcdermott said - the amount of equipment our soldiers are carrying is pushing the limits of what even exceptionally fit men are capable of.

    Modifying the way we fight war because of new demands isn't something new. It's possible we'll find that incorporating changes that allow more women to fight improve the force as a whole.

    Are you unaware that military research already does all this? They always try to make shit as light as possible.

    Yea, AFAIK the military always tries to make things lighter, so that soldiers can carry more. :P

    Except the thing -you're- picked to carry. That was designed in 1953 and is apparently made entirely of steel.

    So, a tank?

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    My feelings boil down to, if you're afraid of unit cohesion because "ew, girls" your unit probably sucks in the first place.

    I have heard from a friend in the JAG corps of certain instances where gender caused some issues in the Navy. It's not a completely groundless concern. It's just a concern that isn't compelling because

    1. The instances are very rare
    2. The instances where it comes up before JAG aren't more common than other serious personnel issues where gender is a non-factor, teenage boys being sufficiently capable of dickery when left to their own devices
    3. One should not establish a gender-wide exclusionary policy based on these rare examples of bad conduct any more than we should exclude men from combat roles because of the small minority that are charged with rape.

    So basically this all nicely ties back to my original assertion of "If you can't handle serving in the same unit/squad/whatever with women, you're probably no fun to serve with in the first place"?

    I don't want to accidentally provide something that can be taken up by the "women have no place in front line units!" crowd. Women can do just about anything a man can do as well as a man, and that includes being the proverbial bad apple that ruins everything for everybody. It's just that while it sometimes does happen, infrequently, it doesn't happen because the individual in question was a woman, it happened because she's an asshole.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Ha, I think I know the kind of thing you're talking about SammyF.

    There are definitely some gender-specific problems with assholery that can arise from an integrated unit. Including some that are possibly more likely than any equivalent assholery that would arise if you replaced those women with men. Which is to say that the introduction of women increases the overall asshole potential, and increases the average realized level of assholery. And beyond simple "you can't handle serving with chicks" bullshit.

    Still, nothing that necessarily warrants exclusion, and nothing that can't be addressed.

    mcdermott on
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  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Ha, I think I know the kind of thing you're talking about SammyF.

    There are definitely some gender-specific problems with assholery that can arise from an integrated unit. Including some that are possibly more likely than any equivalent assholery that would arise if you replaced those women with men. Which is to say that the introduction of women increases the overall asshole potential, and increases the average realized level of assholery. And beyond simple "you can't hand serving with chicks" bullshit.

    Still, nothing that necessarily warrants exclusion, and nothing that can't be addressed.

    One of these days I want to see that expressed in a mathematical formula. Like the Greater Internet Fuckwad theory.

    spool32 wrote:
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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Against my better judgement, I have a question I'd like to ask. Is our goal in letting women serve in combat roles to have the best military possible (which would argue in favor of admitting women, but not at relaxed standards) or being as fair as possible in letting people serve (which would argue in favor if different or lower standards if most women cannot pass the standards)? I would think the former.

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  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    Against my better judgement, I have a question I'd like to ask. Is our goal in letting women serve in combat roles to have the best military possible (which would argue in favor of admitting women, but not at relaxed standards) or being as fair as possible in letting people serve (which would argue in favor if different or lower standards if most women cannot pass the standards)? I would think the former.
    I'd expect that those goals end up being managed politically. That is, when there's active combat the first gets used, and the second gets used during peace to look good for politicians.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Against my better judgement, I have a question I'd like to ask. Is our goal in letting women serve in combat roles to have the best military possible (which would argue in favor of admitting women, but not at relaxed standards) or being as fair as possible in letting people serve (which would argue in favor if different or lower standards if most women cannot pass the standards)? I would think the former.

    It's a combination of the two.

    Fairness is the impetus for the change, in that limiting the roles females can fill has very real and measurable impacts on their pay and promotional opportunities.

    But our goal is to have the best military possible, which is why (presumably) careful study will go into determining which, if any, standards can be relaxed to allow more females to qualify because those standards do not impact unit combat performance.

    It's entirely possible that in some cases, that's "none of them." So the standards exclude most women.

    In some cases, it's entirely possible that being able to admit (physically) top-performing women actually means a higher level of overall performance, as they would be (hopefully) replacing bottom-performing men. The two soldiers may perform equally in raw physical performance, but the kind of female soldier motivated to achieve that level of performance (which for her gender is exceptional) will probably be motivated to far outperform that (physically) low-performing male soldier in other ways.

    Basically, a female able to pass the male standards at the APFT is a top performer on the female scale. Somebody that highly motivated is likely to be a pretty decent soldier all-around. APFT performance doesn't completely correlated to overall competence and motivation, but it's definitely an indicator.

    mcdermott on
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  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    I thought on it a bit more, and I think I may have gone a bit too far down the law and order path in this thread. Regardless of what I think would be ideal in a perfect world, it strikes me that we are probably striking the right balance more or less on this issue in practice, and that we probably don't need to do much more in response to integrating women into combat roles. The one nagging problem which I would love to see us address (and this may be the best time to do so) is the under reporting or rapes in the military, but I don't think this problem should materially worsen with women in combat roles.

    The military shouldn't stop with this by integrating women soldiers into its ranks. It's another good step for progress. A lot has to done to protect women soldiers from issues like rape, for instance.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Against my better judgement, I have a question I'd like to ask. Is our goal in letting women serve in combat roles to have the best military possible (which would argue in favor of admitting women, but not at relaxed standards) or being as fair as possible in letting people serve (which would argue in favor if different or lower standards if most women cannot pass the standards)? I would think the former.

    It's a combination of the two.

    Fairness is the impetus for the change, in that limiting the roles females can fill has very real and measurable impacts on their pay and promotional opportunities.

    But our goal is to have the best military possible, which is why (presumably) careful study will go into determining which, if any, standards can be relaxed to allow more females to qualify because those standards do not impact unit combat performance.

    It's entirely possible that in some cases, that's "none of them." So the standards exclude most women.

    In some cases, it's entirely possible that being able to admit (physically) top-performing women actually means a higher level of overall performance, as they would be (hopefully) replacing bottom-performing men. The two soldiers may perform equally in raw physical performance, but the kind of female soldier motivated to achieve that level of performance (which for her gender is exceptional) will probably be motivated to far outperform that (physically) low-performing male soldier in other ways.

    Basically, a female able to pass the male standards at the APFT is a top performer on the female scale. Somebody that highly motivated is likely to be a pretty decent soldier all-around. APFT performance doesn't completely correlated to overall competence and motivation, but it's definitely an indicator.

    Heh, that reminded me of the movie GI Jane. She was told by the Master Sargent that she could pass the obstacle course with more time and do girl pushups and such but she was determined to perform at the men's level and refused special treatment.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Ha, I think I know the kind of thing you're talking about SammyF.

    There are definitely some gender-specific problems with assholery that can arise from an integrated unit. Including some that are possibly more likely than any equivalent assholery that would arise if you replaced those women with men. Which is to say that the introduction of women increases the overall asshole potential, and increases the average realized level of assholery. And beyond simple "you can't handle serving with chicks" bullshit.

    Still, nothing that necessarily warrants exclusion, and nothing that can't be addressed.

    Sounds like you know exactly what I am talking about. :p

  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    I would be in favor of revising the physical evaluations service wide into semi-broad categories. Tiers, if you will. Evaluate each MOS for the physical requirements that it actually demands. Assign appropriate tier of physical fitness. Allow entry into the training for that job if you meet the standard, man or woman. If you are signing your initial contract for the job, you need to be within 10 percent or something.

    If you cater the physical requirements to the individual job you can even have specific tests per unit rather than one for the whole army. Infantry can have a test that includes loaded ruck march, artillery can have a test that includes weight transfers between two points, drone pilots can have a general fitness test like what the army uses now.

    Also, that way your unit's test can be taken using equipment that the unit is required to have on hand just to be combat effective.

    Some days I just want to smack people with a rolled up newspaper. Or a phone book.
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  • EvigilantEvigilant VARegistered User regular
    I would be in favor of revising the physical evaluations service wide into semi-broad categories. Tiers, if you will. Evaluate each MOS for the physical requirements that it actually demands. Assign appropriate tier of physical fitness. Allow entry into the training for that job if you meet the standard, man or woman. If you are signing your initial contract for the job, you need to be within 10 percent or something.

    If you cater the physical requirements to the individual job you can even have specific tests per unit rather than one for the whole army. Infantry can have a test that includes loaded ruck march, artillery can have a test that includes weight transfers between two points, drone pilots can have a general fitness test like what the army uses now.

    Also, that way your unit's test can be taken using equipment that the unit is required to have on hand just to be combat effective.

    The difference is that these are specifics, and the PT test is supposed to be standardized across the entire military. The single most prevalent issue you will encounter is people changing their MOS. Example: say you have an Infantry sergeant who is transferring to intel. How are you going to assess the physical aptitude of this infantry sergeant in relation to their job in intel? Or vice versa. If an artillery unit is the closest unit in vicinity to another unit, and they need foot support, the artillery unit needs to be able to ruck up and get the fuck down there, quick, fast, and in a hurry. This is what the PT test is supposed to assess. Because like the Marine Corps, every unit is supposed to be able to perform the very, very basic necessities of an infantry unit. How competent they are doing so is irrelevant (since this seldom happens, and usually you just use fillers until replacements come). But that notion, that every unit is supposed to be able to ruck out and carry a standard load, regardless what their MOS specialty is, carries through at all levels of the military.

    The PT test as it stands now "assesses" your cardio and physical ability in order to perform that task. That's the standard, that's the requirement everyone in the military is supposed to meet. You are not allowed to test for other specifics, for example, in Artillery, we aren't allowed or able to test an individuals ability to carry and load a round into a howitzer in a specified amount of time. That's not something that they're supposed to be graded or evaluated on. You're graded and evaluated on your ability to perform the most basic tasks in the military: You're physical strength to endure carrying X amount of weight Y miles, the time it took for you to do so, and then your ability to shoot your rifle.

    Because in the Military everyone at their very most basic level is an infantrymen or needs to be able to fulfill a replacement role in the infantry.

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