Dempsey considers lowering standards for women in combat

| January 26, 2013

Our least favorite Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Martin Dempsey, in his press conference on Thursday along with our least favorite Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, hinted that he just might consider lowering the standards to let women in the jobs which might take them into combat, according to the Washington Times;

When a reporter mentioned that the Pentagon’s stance appeared to keep open the possibility that some occupational specialties would be off limits to females, Gen. Dempsey responded: “[I]f we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”

Of course, that’s the one thing they said they wouldn’t do in the beginning of this whole discussion. but, in light of the two female Marines who dropped out of the infantry officers’ course, not because they couldn’t meet the academic standard, but rather because they couldn’t meet the physical standard because of who they are, I guess they’ve had second thoughts.

They know that the social scientists are going to demand to see numbers and the only way to get what they think is equity, they have to lower the standards. But then, That’s what I’ve been saying for years. It’s not like they didn’t know – they’ve always known. They just ignored it so they don’t have to say out loud that women are not equal to men for biological reasons.

Category: Military issues

Comments (56)

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  1. Tequila says:

    I have noticed a strange dichotomy in recent days regarding this whole women in the combat arms debate. It seems female officers are all for it while female enlisted not so much. It appears when you strip all the BS away this is an idea being pushed by female officers looking to get command time on the ole resume and since there are so few slots available they figure they can go do a little time with the guys in the combat arms jobs, get their ticket punched and go back to what ever specialty smoke their shorts. Enlisted realize they can’t merely do a drive by. More and more this doesn’t look like an equality issue as it does a cynical move for some hard charging females to get a little box checked on the OER and then move on.

  2. 68W58 says:

    We are governed by fools and knaves-don’t forget it. The lefty politicians and bureaucrats are the fools. They have been mindfucked by years of Marxist and deconstructionist nonsense during their formative years and they presume to “make the world right” despite the overwhelming evidence that many things are as they are due to harsh reality. They can almost be forgiven for their foolishness.

    Those who acquiesce to this nonsense who know (or ought to know) better are the knaves. They go along because they see it as politically expedient to do so.

    It will all end in tears, of course. The fools will ignore the disaster because it does not fit their ideology and so does not matter, while the knaves will have moved on leaving others to pick up the pieces.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The only reason the army is entertaining the idea of women in combat is because the male kids today are fat and lazy.

  4. valerie says:

    “the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” ”

    We all knew this was coming. Be warned. Be prepared.

    I would draw an analogy, here. During the run-up to the war in Iraq, there was some dithering over the final date to roll out. One of the factors was the season: That Iraqi desert gets awfully hot, and some people argued that we could not delay beyond a certain point without endangering out troops by requiring them to be highly active in the heat of full summer. An added factor was the concern about chemical weapons, and the added burden the hot, cumbersome protective gear would pose in the desert in Iraq in summer.

    I was raised in Texas, and I’ve been on the flightline at Randolph AFB when the temperature there was 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

    So, I wrote to my President, and I told him something like: “If you ask them, they will tell you that they can do it, and then they’ll do their very best to find a way to make it work. They will tell you that they can cope with that heat, and they may even believe it, themselves. But if you send those troops out in that heat under those conditions, somebody is going to die. You have people from all over this country, and developing the ability to withstand heat is not a short-term project, and not amenable to efforts of will. Do not hold their courage and their willingness to serve their country against them. Protect them by being as reasonable as you can about what you ask of them.”

  5. COB6 says:

    #3 That theory would imply that the Army is doing this to enhance readiness.


  6. obsidian says:

    This is really getting anal.
    Do women really want to get into a job where in order to compete with the men standards have to be lowered just for them?
    That lowering of standards would humiliate me as much as humping a full 85 lb load out while some woman gets 45 lb because she has lower standards and cannot hump the basic load.
    What happens, a combat situation where the plt has been cut down due to wounds or injury and deaths and all that’s left to hump the load is women? You don’t have the luxury now to just dump half their load onto some Pvt who is male, now you have less men and more gear to carry. Do the women under combat conditions man up and take that full 85 lb plus load?
    Or do they ask the enemy to lower their standards so the women can serve as well as any man or so it’s been said.

    Does the average Female enlisted feel comfortable going into a situation reminiscent of Pelilui or the Bulge and having special teams of enemy troops hunting them for rape as well as killing them in combat as average soldiers?
    Does the liberal democrat want to see American girls star in Islamic rape and throat cutting videos all shown with pride by youtube? Do liberals hate females so much they would force women to be infantry even if they would not, could not and will not do the job assigned because women are not able to compete unless standards are lowered just for them.
    What exactly is the point to this little exercise in mental masturbation?
    Have any of the women who are pushing this served in a front line combat infantry unit for an entire tour?
    You could draft children under this agenda and simply lower the standards so children could serve as infantry soldiers.
    The people who dreamed this up are in dire need of psychological treatment.

  7. Green Thumb says:

    I have spoken to many of buddies and they are dreading this.

    In a way, I am kind of glad i am not in any more.

    Also, what are the current PT requirements for Flag Officers?

  8. obsidian says:

    I believe the standards of Infantry Combat are set high so the troops don’t get killed and are able to perform their missions, those standards are set by the enemy and by reality just waving their hands will not make the reality of combat any easier because standards are lower.

  9. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: that would be a negative. Movement for “gender equality” in both the military and society has been constant since the 1960s. I put that in quotes because in many cases what’s sought appears to be not actual equality, but accommodation.

    In general, gender equality is the correct policy. But in a few select cases, it’s contraindicated by either basic biology or military effectiveness.

    Women serving in combat arms positions below brigade HQ level IMO clearly falls into the latter category (contraindicated by military effectiveness). But those pushing the agenda won’t listen to that argument, despite any evidence presented showing it’s a bad idea.

    And, for what it’s worth: the military has never truly embraced the concept of “gender equality” when it comes to standards for military service; rather, in many cases they’ve actually embraced the principle of “separate gender-based standards”. For one example, take a look at physical fitness test score charts. In other cases, standards and procedures have allegedly been redone to accommodate women. In particular, I believe the “two-person carry” specification limits of MIL-STD-1472 were reworked for this reason many years ago. (That standard even today also specifies different limits for male-only and mixed-gender populations, by the way.)

    As COB6 put it above: this ain’t about making the military more effective.

  10. MAJMike says:

    Well, golly gosh! Who’d a thunk it!?! Lowering standards to accomodate careerist ambitions? Who saw that coming?

    APFT standards are already gender-normed, what else will be fixed? Who’ll carry their rucks or M240’s? That mortar baseplate gets pretty heavy after a while. Remember to locate the port-a-potties close to the FEBA so as to accomadate our women warriors.


  11. Cacti35 says:

    I often wonder why it is necessary to serve in Combat Arms for promotion? Jesus Christ we sure don’t have any standard of experience to elect fools to public office. Just letting off steam on a Saturday morning.

  12. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Well, if the female standards are lowered, it stands to reason that the male standards should be no higher because they are needlessly inflated. And they must be needlessly inflated if a woman can qualify do the man’s job while meeting the lower standards. I’ll put it another way. Let’s say that a physical requirement is that a candidate be able to drag 165 lbs. of dead weight 50 feet. The standards are lowered for 110 lbs. for women. Well, if the man and woman both meet the qualification, there’s either an inherent inequity OR there will be a very bad outcome if the woman, in combat, needs to drag a 150-60 lb. soldier some distance. Either way, it doesn’t work.

  13. Ex-PH2 says:

    Port-a-potties? Port-a-potties?

    I’ll tell you what a port-a-potty is. It’s a foam coffee cup that someone forgot to toss out.

  14. 68W58 says:

    AirCav-I see you haven’t mastered your cognitive dissonance yet. If male standards for PT are lowered then males will outpreform females and so have an advantage for promotion.

    Can’t have that, higher rates of female promotion is what this is all about, combat effectiveness be damned.

    Doublethink is your friend.

  15. TrapperFrank says:

    I have a great idea, let’s get the three a$$hats, Sec Def Panetta, GEN Dempsey and SMA Chandler outfitted in clown suits and have them work children’s birthday parties. That way they could earn their keep and be of less danger to the defense of this nation.

  16. Ex-PH2 says:

    AirCav, consider this. You said ” Let’s say that a physical requirement is that a candidate be able to drag 165 lbs. of dead weight 50 feet. The standards are lowered for 110 lbs. for women.”

    What about men who aren’t much bigger than an average woman to begin with? I’m 5’2″. When I was in the Navy I weighed about 122lbs. I was used to dragging heavy weights around — said that already – and two hay bales weighed 180, and yes, I could drag two of them from one end of the hay loft to the other, about 100 feet, but I knew guys who were my size and weight who could not do that, period. They simply were not acclimated to it.

    My point is that the standards for men aren’t based on their size and weight, are they? I don’t know, so I’m asking about it.

    There are women who can do that, but anyone who is expected to do that has to become accustomed to doing it by regular training.

    I could not do that now. I can still carry a 50-lb bag of cat litter into the house from the car, but I have to get the guy at Petsmar to move it from my shopping cart to my car because of my arthritis, which is in my back. I simply can’t wrangle it out of the shopping cart any more.

  17. 68W58 says:

    Ex-PH2: If you scroll about halfway through the column at this link you will see a chart about the percentage of men and women who were able to preform a task both before and after training. One task in particular stands out-P250 pump, carry down (I have no idea what this is, but being former Navy you might) where only 4% of men failed the task after training, but 99% of women did. At the very least this suggests that men benefit from training and conditioning to a greater extent than do women (this being the only task that any percentage of men failed after training).

  18. bombguy says:

    The Marine Corps is doing a half-assed attempt at equalizing the standards. Females will be required to do pullups now instead of the flexed arm hang. But, for a female to get the max score for pullups, she only has to do eight. Males still have to do 20. Enlighten me as to how that’s fair. PFT scores count towards promotion. And please don’t bring up the argument of “but males have more upper body strength and muscle mass. Women are physiologically build different,” because that only serves to illustrate my point that we are not equal. I weigh 215lbs. Add 50 lbs of gear, tools and ammo, and now I’m 265. Show me the woman who could pick me up from the prone position because I was shot and carry me while she herself is wearing 50lbs of gear.

  19. FatCircles0311 says:

    So they are going to lower the already lower requirements females have. Can’t wait until the Marine Corps goes coed bootcamp so I can read about plt 3082 sneaking up deck to meet 3081 for some private PT.

  20. Daniel says:

    @16 I don’t know about dragging 165 lbs, but I do know that the male Soldiers, no matter what their weight is, that can’t lift a pallet box of 2 x 155 rds (183 lbs) onto the ready rack are negatively counseled and receive corrective training (additional PT). If they can’t perform this part of their job, they aren’t recommended for promotion.

    I have no problem with female Soldiers performing the job, until the first time I receieve a Congressional or IG Investigation for holding them to the same exact standard.

  21. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @20. The 165 lb drag was not meant to be an actual standard b/c I have no idea what the standards are in this century. The standard you describe works better and is more stringent than my fictional one.

  22. Ex-PH2 says:

    @68W58, read it and agree with it. I’m not arguing the point, either. But men will accrue muscle mass with training more rapidly than women will. I’ve seen this for myself. Muscles mass is what gives you physical strength. If you put two people (1 man, 1 woman) the same size into a rigorous training schedule, the man will pick up strength more quickly than the woman.

    A P250 pump is what you attach the firehose to so that you can throw water or foam on a fire on deck or in the hold. That’s a good point, because women firefighters are expected to meet the same standards as men and rarely do so. Firehoses are extremely heavy, as are the various pieces of equipment used in firefighting, and if you can’t physically lift them, how can you expect to qualify as a firefighter?

    And frankly, I would rather not have someone who can’t move the hose and other equipment working in the firehouse if my neighborhood is set ablaze. That 5-alarm warehouse fire that started on South Ashland earlier this week is still burning, in spite of the building being torn down.

    It’s entirely possible that an exo-skeleton designed to lift heavy objects might become a part of uniform combat gear, too. Research is already underway on that subject.

  23. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @16. “What about men who aren’t much bigger than an average woman to begin with?”

    Size doesn’t matter in this instance but strength does. My other point in my either/or scenario is worth considering. On what are the male standards based? Are they needlessly inflated? I’m guessing the answer is no but I do not know how the standards were established and for what purpose. If the standards are based on actual physical strength and stamina minimum NEEDs, I’ m good with that. If, however, they are based on the perceived need to reduce the numbers of successful candidates, that’s another story.

  24. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Aw, to hell with it all. I’m done. I just read that Fort Bragg has named its “Military Spouse of the Year.” The little lady is married to Lt.Co. HEATHER Mack. Oh, no, that’s NOT all. Mrs. and Mrs. Mack just had their second child. I could say a great many foul things about now. I am seeing friggin’ red. Screw it. I quit.

  25. FatCircles0311 says:

    Most infantry Marines aren’t hulk beasts doing 300 lbs benches that model on fitness magazines. The vast majority of active duty infantry marines are pretty slim due to their inability to work out regularly or get the proper nutrition because of their jobs entails lack of sleep and food. Endurance, muscle mass, and unit cohesion is the real issues here. All you really need to do is look at Marine Combat Training which all females go through and see the effects of a continued physical operational environment has on them compared to males. Most already don’t make the humps and MCT humps are vastly easier than what occurs in the fleet regularly.

    I always remember that dumb air force female pilot talking about her winning a marathon as reason enough for females to be included in these units. Training up for a marathon well rested and fed is a lot different than continually operating in the harshest conditions for months without a break, malnourished, sleep deprived, and carrying more than just your body weight at all times. Combat operations on males take a toll already so no amount of I am woman hear me roar is going to reduce the increased toll it will on them. If I saw females in the Corps doing the same humps as line companies I might change my opinion but let’s be honest here, that is never going to happen because the vast majority can’t keep up already in basic PT runs without carrying extra weight.

  26. PavePusher says:

    I’m not sure why this is neccesarily a bad thing: “[I]f we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”

    If the standards are kept artificially high, the question should be asked. If the answer can’t stand up to scrutiny, then the standard needs to be reviewed. No different than any other military standard.

    So what is the big deal?

  27. Common Sense says:

    I finished Sal Guinta’s book Living with Honor a few weeks ago. He goes into quite a bit of detail of what the infantry was like and the toll it took on men.

    Cpt Katie Petronio explains the toll it took on her:

    No matter how much the left wants to remove gender from society, Mother Nature has dictated otherwise.

  28. Ex-PH2 says:

    AirCav, you’re getting your shorts in a wedgie over a couple of lesbians?

    You come here all the time. Do you not recognize attention whores when you see them?

  29. FatCircles0311 says:

    @26: Because those standards have been fine previously and met. They are now only in question because a certain group cannot meet them, but who cares if that certain group couldn’t meet the basic standards in the first place, let’s do it again to appease some fantasy that combat isn’t resulted oriented. The military isn’t a right nor is serving in difficult units. If we continue to go down this road why have standards at all, because all that does is disqualify people that wanted in. Our force is voluntarily and there is competition for those spots so it’s only natural to get the best candidates able to produce results.

  30. Ex-PH2 says:

    @29, How many of those who passed the standard tests were the size of the average male, 5’8″ and 191 lbs?

    How many who passed were below the average size?

    How many who failed were the average size and how many were below average size?

    Of those who failed, men only, would you lower the standards so that they could pass the tests?

    I would not.

  31. PavePusher says:

    FatCircles, standards are always being reviewed. If they are approriate to the job, then there won’t be a problem, right?

    And, as we’re always saying, “Just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t mean it can’t be done better.” I see that a lot on this site, actually. (Today’s example? the write-up on mid-tour leave has someclassics…)

    Honestly, I don’t think there are many, if any, over-inflated physical standards out there. But if there are some, they should be identified and fixed.

    And for the record, I’m not advocating that any standard be lowered just to allow women (or men) to pass. In fact, I can think of some areas where the standards should be made tougher (I’m in USAF aircraft MX: if you can’t dead-lift 100 lbs overhead, you should be a cook or librarian or something… and that is not our current standard).

  32. Jonn Lilyea says:

    I was 5’8″ and 126 pounds when I went in the Army and no one ever cut me any slack.

  33. Cacti35 says:

    Well I’ll probably get blasted for saying this but here it goes. When I was sheriff, we had a couple of female deputies. They were not able to work the rural areas far from back up like the men. They had great people skills and other skills but when it came down to going to the ground with a fighting drunk just not the same. I had one female detective, I have seen her wrestle with drunks, no fear, but just not as strong as the guys. She was damn smart and a cracker jack investigator. No problem with courage, just the physical ability. Sure some woman bulk up and get strong but that is the exception, not the rule IMHO. If you ever watch the silly reality cop shows, notice the woman involved like “lady cops of blah blah” or whatever. When the wrestling and fighting is happening it is the male that has to to do the heavy lifting. I know that is chauvinistic but the truth hurts. Having spent a year humping a ruck in the jungle along with a PRC 25, I just think the whole things is silly.

  34. Ex-PH2 says:

    There is a wide difference between chauvinism and reality.

  35. Smaj says:

    “[I]f we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” This coming from someone, because of their long experience and judgement, should NEVER be OK with lowering standards. Once again Dempsey demonstrates he is unfit for the job, but I’m sure his civilian masters are good with that.

  36. FatCircles0311 says:

    @31: Frankly the standards are already too low and they should be increased for Marine infantry and for basic Marines.

    @29: Well I guess I wasn’t an average male then. There is one standard and is referred to as the minimum to not be removed from ITB or in the case of fleet duty, being gunny’s coffee bitch. There is already more than enough male turds in these units but including more you literally won’t be able to address(because you can never really address female Marines that don’t perform already) just means even more weight to be carried by those performing and resulting man power issues.

    Can’t maintain staying up with a painfully slow run pace in boots and uts command run for more than 5 minutes but can apparently be physically fit to be a grunt now. I have to question whether or not the DoD leadership actually has seen their military in any capacity other than pictures.

  37. Ex-PH2 says:

    @32 – That is exactly the point I was making.

  38. Stacy0311 says:

    @19-The Marine Corps already has co-ed bootcamp. It’s called Parris Island.
    Hollywood baby 😉

  39. melle1228 says:

    >>I was 5’8? and 126 pounds when I went in the Army and no one ever cut me any slack.

    Yeah but you are a white male that doesn’t help quotas..

  40. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Okay, I’ve calmed quite a bit. Watched the 2nd half of the Senior Bowl (I was gettin’ the shakes from football withdrawl) and cleared the snow from atop my grille and cooked up (no gas! charcoal only!) a few sausages. The roast is still on the grille. Anyway, no Ex-PH2, I didn’t go aboil over the women from Lesbos. What got me crazy was the fact that BECAUSE they are married lesbians, the esteemed Fort Bragg crowned one Military Spouse of the Year. I don’t know about such things but I’m guessing that there were 1000 women–heterosexuals all, unfortunately–that deserved the honor before Mrs. Whatshername did.

  41. Ex-PH2 says:

    Well, AirCav, I wouldn’t take it personally. They’re having a guilt-fest about not being PC. Has nothing to do with you and/or yours.

    However — and I say this simply because they bore me to tears — this in-your-face thing is boring and SO-O-O 2006.

  42. 68W58 says:

    We’re here, we’re queer, we deserve to be spouse of the year!

  43. From reading the discussion here on this, it sounds like there already are lower standards for females in the military, no matter what branch.

    Does this mean that the majority of females in the US military, from the time females were allowed to join the military, were/are not actually physically qualified to be in the military?

    In other words, from the time females were allowed in the military, were they allowed to meet lower standards in order for the US military to be co-ed? Or when females were allowed to join the military, were they required to meet the universal standard?

    If the former, was this done for the betterment of the military? ie, was it done to increase the military force and make it a better force, or was this simply done for social engineering?

    I ask, because it seems this is simply a result of accepting females into the military with lower standards in general. Once that is accepted in general, it makes it easier for those in charge to start lowering standards all around.

  44. Jonn Lilyea Says: I was 5’8? and 126 pounds when I went in the Army and no one ever cut me any slack.

    I will use this an example. So let’s say that a 5’8″ 126lb male does achieve the male standards for military service in boot camp. A 5’8″ 126lb female also does not achieve the male standards for military service in boot camp, but does achieve the lower female standards for military service in boot camp.

    Per those standards, does the military then reject the male, but accept the female?

  45. Green Thumb says:


    You do not strike me as being that feeble….

    Just an observation.

  46. Ex-PH2 says:

    @45, Arthritis is an inhibitor in a lot of things. It stiffens joints, makes ordinary lifting more difficult. I have learned to work around it.

  47. Ex-PH2 says:

    @44, if both achieve gender-based standards, why would either be rejected?

  48. Green Thumb says:


    As we used to say “Take a knee, take a Motrin and drink some water”.

    The IN “cure all”.

    I would say that is the standard, but we will see…

  49. Hondo says:

    Ex-PH2: I think Michael in MI left out the word “not” in the sentence beginning “So lets say . . . ” and meant to say that the male did not meet the male standards. That’s the only way I can make sense of the word “also” in the sentence that follows.

    It’s hardly an academic example. Under current Army PT test standards, it is quite easy for a man to fail with a raw score that would be a pretty good score on the female scoring charts.

    You must achieve a minimum score of 60 in each event to pass. An overall score of 270 overall with no event score <90 attains the Army Physical Fitness Badge, if I recall correctly.

    It's indeed possible for a male in some age groups to fail the test with raw scores that would give a female a numerical score entitling her to the fitness badge (>270 with no event <90). Some years ago, it was actually possible for a female to MAX the test in some age groups with raw scores that would fail a male, but the scoring tables have been changed to remove that bit of absurdity. A woman now at least has to pass the male standards to achieve a max score.

  50. Ex-PH2 says:

    GT – Advil liqui-gel before sleepy time.

    OK, Hondo, that makes more sense.