Despite protestations to the contrary, many critics of former defense secretary Ash Carter's opening up all combat positions to women suspected that the military would end up relaxing physical standards for female solders to ensure that they can make it to the front lines.
This appears to be happening. The Free Beacon reports:
The U.S. Marine Corps will no longer require prospective officers to pass a punishing combat endurance test to graduate from the service’s Infantry Officer Course.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller quietly made the shift to standards in November, altering the test from a pass/fail requirement to just one of many exercises measured as part of overall IOC evaluation, the Marine Corps Times first reported on Thursday.
The course is considered among the military’s toughest training programs, with about a quarter of all students failing to complete it, according to the Washington Post. Most of the 30-plus women who have attempted IOC dropped on the first day during the combat endurance test.
Only one female Marine has graduated from the course since former Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all military combat roles would be open to women in 2015.
As the Free Beacon notes, Marine 2nd Lt. Emma Stokien wrote in 2014 eliminating this grueling test of physical endurance would harm the ability of women to integrate into the military.
But there is another reason we should be concerned: when soldiers are fighting side by side on the front line, the physical aptitude of the soldiers fighting with them will have an effect on how they fight and even perhaps on whether they live or die.
Physical standards aren't a sneaky way to discriminate against women–they are a way to ensure that those who find themselves in combat are more likely to survive.