The woman who became the Army’s first female infantry officer is now speaking out against lowering fitness standards for females in a test that evaluates troops’ combat readiness, arguing that doing so would “not only undermine their credibility, but also place those women, their teammates and the mission at risk.”
The comments from Capt. Kristen Griest, an Army Ranger School graduate, come following reports this month that the U.S. Army is considering revamping the way it scores its new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) to account for the biological differences between men and women.
Doing so would stray away from the Army’s original plan for the six-event test to be entirely gender neutral, Military.com reported.
“While it may be difficult for a 120-pound woman to lift or drag 250 pounds, the Army cannot artificially absolve women of that responsibility; it may still exist on the battlefield,” Griest wrote in an essay published Thursday by the Modern War Institute at West Point. “The entire purpose of creating a gender-neutral test was to acknowledge the reality that each job has objective physical standards to which all soldiers should be held, regardless of gender.
“The intent was not to ensure that women and men will have an equal likelihood of meeting those standards. Rather, it is incumbent upon women who volunteer for the combat arms profession to ensure they are fully capable and qualified for it,” she continued. “To not require women to meet equal standards in combat arms will not only undermine their credibility, but also place those women, their teammates, and the mission at risk.”
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