Showing posts with label Ranger-School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ranger-School. Show all posts

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Defense News

U.S. Defense Spending Woes. A recent news story by Matthew Gault examines the national defense stance of the presidential candidates and where they stand on defense spending. And naturally, the F-35 comes under intense criticism. Read "Donald Trump is right about defense spending - and that should scare you"Reuters, March 2, 2016.

Countering Adversaries without War. The Arroyo Center of RAND Corporation has published a new report (52 pages, 2016) that it prepared for the U.S. Army. It is entitled The Power to Coerce: Countering Adversaries Without Going to WarThis paper explores the space in between hard military power and soft power. Evidently the short acronym for "Power to Coerce" is known as P2C . . . a new acronym for me.

Another Attack on HTS. Tom Vanden Brook of USA Today just can't say enough bad stuff about the Human Terrain System (HTS). His misguided and uniformed attacks are inaccurate and an attack on a very valuable program. Read his latest in "$725M program Army 'killed' found alive, growing", USA Today, March 9, 2016.

F-35 - "Huge Mess". The U.S. Director of Operational Test and Evaluation - DOT&E - recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 - sometimes referred to as a plane that can do anything but nothing very well. Read "The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Is Still a Huge Mess", War is Boring, March 9, 2016. See also "The F-35: Still Failing to Impress", Project on Government Oversight (POGO), March 7, 2016.

F-35 - "A Great Success". Air Force LTG Christopher Bogdan, the program executive for the F-35 Lighting II joint program office, provided his insight on the F-35. He says that we are having slow, steady progress with the questionable aircraft. If he can fly an airplane as well as he transitions his water bottle from hand to hand then he is quite an aviator. So . . . want to listen to a little spin? Watch a 60-minute long DoD News video posted on March 10, 2016 on DVIDSHUB.

Book Review - Selling War. A new book details how the U.S. military lost in the information war early on in Iraq. For a glimpse of what this book is about read a review by Adam J. Tiffen in "The Information War That the US Lost in Iraq", Task & Purpose, March 7, 2016. The book Selling War: A Critical Look at the Military's PR Machine is now available on

MISO and Marines. The USMC may soon be expanding its psychological operations (PSYOP) capabilities with the use of an expanded Military Information Support Operations (MISO) program. This is certainly a welcome move given the inability of the U.S. government and military to "control the narrative" in recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. Read "Marines May Expand Psychological Operations With New Specialty",, March 11, 2016.

CA Papers. A Civil Affairs Syposium was held in November 2015. Various associations and agencies took part. Five papers are presented in this report entitled 2015-2016 Civil Affairs Issue Papers: A Force for Engagement and Conflict Prevention. The papers cover topics on Counter-Unconventional Warfare, State Partnership Program, Conflict Prevention, International Police Engagement, and Developing Human Networks.

Paper - Enhanced Army Airborne Forces. Several authors have collaborated on a RAND Corporation paper (132 pages) that examines the role of the U.S. Army's airborne forces in the future, the challenges it will likely face, the capabilities that it will need to face those challenges, and how to prioritize those capabilities. (RAND, Mar 2016).

Navy Loosens the Rules. It appears that the Navy is going to be a little lax in the physical fitness category. It seems some are wondering why being able to do those pushups and run fast is important. The Navy's body fat restrictions changed in January and many sailors are getting second, third, and fourth chances to pass their physical fitness test. Read "Navy loosens body fat rules to retain sailors", Military Times, March 7, 2016.

Closing GITMO. Congress required the president to submit a plan for how to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. Obama had made this a presidential imperative but up to now has not come up with an alternate plan (other than releasing terrorists) to downsize the population and to continue to detain those deemed too dangerous to release. The White House submitted a plan in early March 2016. You can read the 21 page document posted on entitled Plan for Closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

Women in the Military

Italian Female Soldier (DVIDS)

New Issue - PRISM. The Center for Complex Operations of the National Defense University (NDU) has posted a new issue of PRISM, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2016. This quarterly publication has a wealth of articles on many topics. This specific issue, 214 pages long, is entitled "Women, Peace, & Inclusive Security". Some of the articles explore the use of Female Engagement Teams (FETs) and Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) as well as female members of the National Guard's Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan. Also profiled are female members of military units from NATO and around the world.

U.S. Female Soldier in Pre-Ranger Training (DVIDS)

Lower PT Standards for Females in Rangers? According to one news article posted on the Ranger Regiment & school are now adopting different physical fitness standards for men and women who will enter training for Ranger School and once assigned to the Ranger Regiment. Apparently the regiment is moving to an "Army Physical Fitness Test" (APFT) that is not 'one size fits all'.

The new annual requirement for someone assigned to the Ranger Regiment according to is "2 x APFTs (min 60 points in ea. event, scaled by age & gender) IAW Army Regulations". So, at age 17-21, men are required to do the minimum of 53 sit-ups, 42 push-ups, and a 15.54 two-mile run; women are required to do the minimum of 53 sit-ups, 19 push-ups, and a 18:54 two-mile run. See the current "Army Physical Fitness Test Scorecard" for the different physical standards by gender and age group.

If true, this is truly disconcerting news. Read "Proof that standards will be dropped for females entering the 75th Ranger Regiment", March 7, 2016.

Army's Gender Integration Implementation Plan. The U.S. Army's plan is a detailed approach for integrating women into all military occupational specialties (MOSs). The paves the way for female Soldiers to serve in the Infantry, Armor, and Special Forces.

Most Marines Opposed to Women in Combat Units. "A survey of nearly 54,000 members of the Marine Corps found that two out of three male Marines and one out three female Marines were opposed to opening all combat jobs to women." Read more in "How big is opposition to women in combat units among Marines? This report explains.", The Washington Post,  March 10, 2016.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Integration of Women into Combat Units

Kristen Griest in Ranger School 2015 (Army file photo)
Army Plan for Women Integration. The Army is opening the door to every job a Soldier can hold regardless of gender. Read more in "Army reveals plan to fully integrate women into all MOSs, combat units"Army News Service, February 2, 2016.

Women and Selective Service. All things being equal, women should be required to register for selective service (the system used to induct personnel into the military should the draft be brought back). Equal rights bring equal responsibilities - or so says some of our leading generals. Read "Army, Marine chiefs: Require women to register for draft"The Hill, February 2, 2016.

RAND & Women in Combat Roles. RAND Corporation provided a number of studies to the military that informed the Pentagon on the decision to open combat roles to women. This latest post to The RAND Blog details the various reports. (Feb 6, 2016).

Females Bulking Up. Anyone who has served in the infantry or close to it knows that one of the physical limitations that most women have is their ability to carry heavy loads on their backs or lift heavy objects. For the most part (there are a few exceptions) this is a a fact of life (or nature?). The imposition of height and weight standards within the military services is one measure of ensuring that our service personnel stay fit. If you are fat you are less likely to be a contributor to success on the battlefield. The top brass has been telling us that the standards will not be lowered when women are integrated into combat units. Well . . . here it comes. News flash: we are changing the standards. Women will are now able to exceed the height and weight standards in order to 'bulk up'. So the intent is to let women put on some muscle (which adds weight) giving them a better physique to handle that heavy rucksack and machine gun. Well, my prediction is that there will be a few (hundreds) that use this new policy to bulk up and put on some extra muscle. And there will be thousands who will now have an excuse for those extra pounds of fat because the new standards allow. According to the current standards a male is allowed to have 18% body fat and a women is allowed to have 26% body fat; let's see if that gets modified as well. Read "Female Marines may be allowed to bulk up as service opens infantry to women", The Washington Post, February 3, 2016.

Mountaineering, Women, and the What the Marines Could Learn. A mountaineer and former Marine - Joe Plenzier - thinks the USMC could learn a lot about how women can perform in combat units by looking at how women are performing in the the sport of mountain climbing. Read "What mountaineers can teach the Marines about how to integrate women", The Washington Post, February 3, 2016.

Navy Secretary Scolded by Senate on Women Marines. Ray Mabus had an uncomfortable time before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Feb 2, 2016 explaining why he dissed an extensive USMC study analyzing women in combat units. Read "Senators scold Mabus for causing drama with Marine Corps"Marine Corps Times, Feb 2, 2016.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Women in Combat

Member of a Coalition Support Team
(CST)  interacts with Afghan child
Women in Service Studies. The U.S. Department of Defense wants you to 'feel good' about the integration of women into special operations forces and infantry units. Read up on a bunch of studies about the integration of women into combat units and infantry / special forces training. The documents are posted on the DoD website - "Women in Service Studies". One study posted on this site conducted by RAND Corporation found that 85% of the special operators assigned to tactical SOF units did not want women integrated into their units. The general belief was that women don't have the physical strength or mental toughness to do the grueling jobs (Military Times, Dec 10, 2015). But hey, what do those combat vets with multiple tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Panama, and a few other places that can't be mentioned know about . . . well, combat, anyway? After all, if the D.C. folks say its okay . . .

Report on Women in Combat. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) prepared a paper for Congress entitled Women in Combat: Issues for Congress, December 3, 2015. Posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

Female Ranger Grad Comments on WIC. Lisa Jaster, a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and a recent graduate of the U.S. Army's Ranger School has some comments about not letting our standards fall or forcing quotas on our combat units. Read "Women in combat units will prove the naysayers wrong", The Washington Post, December 11, 2015.

Women and the Draft. Now that women are free to enter any occupation, job or profession in any of the military services to include infantry and special operations it is probably time to require females to register for the draft. I mean . . . why not? What is fair is fair! ". . . rights and responsibilities go hand in hand". Read more in "Now Women Should Register for the Draft", December 7, 2015.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Two Females Graduate from Ranger Course

To the applause of almost everyone (if relying on Internet news stories and Twitter tweets is a reliable measure of opinion) two female Soldiers have graduated from the Army's premier infantry training course. The Ranger School finally admitted female Soldiers to start the training. After months of preparation, a few recycles, and a few different Ranger course sequences spanning April through August two of the women made it through the tough training. Both are West Point graduates and will have the honor of wearing the Ranger Tab through the course of their military careers. One is a Captain MP and the other a Lieutenant Apache helicopter pilot. One of the graduates is a veteran of an Afghan deployment. I suspect their future is bright. It won't be long before the special operations community scoffs these two Rangers up. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that one of them is attempting the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) next. More on that below.

Advocates for women taking a greater role in combat arms of the military will point to these two women as evidence that women can cut it in combat units. The test of time will tell if allowing women into infantry squads and Ranger companies is a good idea. Certainly there is a role for women in combat - this has been proven time and again over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. One need only point out their value in programs such as the Female Engagement Teams or FETs (that supported Marine and Army infantry units) and the Cultural Support Teams or CSTs (that supported special operations forces) to recognize their importance in the fight. The Navy has come out with news that the SEALs will open up their training to females. Demi Moore is vindicated!

Some of the Special Mission Units (SMUs) have integrated women into their training and operations for many years - in fact, many feel that special operations has been in the forefront (in a quiet way) for integrating women into their units. (Learn about "Project Diane" and the OSS on the USASOC website). Women as shooters on a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha? Hmmmm. It probably won't be long before the Army announces the entrance of women into Special Forces units at the combat level. While Ranger training is two (very hard) months, Special Forces training at the entry level is in excess of one year - and depending on the military occupational specialty - almost two years. Once again, time will tell. Now that MG Scotty Miller (heading up the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning) has "led the way" to getting women integrated into Ranger training the spotlight moves onto LTG Ken Tovo (USASOC cdr) and MG Kraft (Special Forces Command) at Fort Bragg.

If a female does attend and complete the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) then she won't be the first. That ground (or camouflage ceiling) was broken years ago - in 1980 (or 1981?). Captain Kathleen Wilder, a military intelligence officer assigned to an Intel position in Special Forces found that there was nothing in the regulation against women attending the Special Forces Officer Course. She pressed Department of the Army to attend (a little Congressional help was instrumental I believe) and was able to attend the Special Forces Officer Course (SFOC). Back then SFOC was different than the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). SFOC was for officers and SFQC was for enlisted. The officer course was way easy compared to SFQC. Wilder's graduation from SFOC changed all of that. Shortly after her graduation the potential SF officers had to go through the training with the enlisted. One of the best things that ever happened to SF!

The Army put on quite a show for the Ranger class graduation. You can watch a one hour long video of a press conference published on on August 21, 2015 by US Army TRADOC.

For me, I take comfort in knowing that I was in the last HARD RANGER CLASS! Desert Legion!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ranger School Goes Online

The U.S. Army is leading American society not only in progressive social policies (see the move to allow women to attend Ranger School) but also spear-heading leading-edge educational opportunities for its personnel. At the forefront of this shift from resident courses of instruction and training to online learning experiences is the Ranger School. Read more in "Ranger School Replaced by 9-Week Long Online Game", Duffel Blog, January 10, 2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PSYOP Tab Now Awarded

Photo courtesy of Duffel Blog
Members of the Psychological Operations community are celebrating the long-awaited recognition that they deserve for being part of the Special Operations community. The PSYOP community has always been associated with the Special Warfare mission - going back to the early 1950s. Those individuals who are graduates of a recognized PSYOP course - the PSYOP correspondence course counts - are eligible to wear the "Psychological Operations" tab. Current service members can start wearing the tab once they have by-name orders published - the personnel action is initiated by their unit S1. Former members of the Army can send a letter (with an attached DD 214) to the S1 of the 4th Military Information Support Group for award of the PSYOP tab. The award of a tab for completion of a specialized Army course is not without precedent. Members of Special Forces who have undergone Special Forces training are awarded the 'Special Forces' tab for completion of the SF qualification course. This is often informally referred to as the 'long tab'. However, SF dudes are now calling the PSYOP tab 'the longest tab' because of the number of letters required (see picture at left). In the tabbed world there are a lot of changes afoot - from the establishment of the PSYOP tab to the soon-to-be seen spectacle of women wearing the Ranger Tab. Get ready for it! Progress is unstoppable! Read more in "Psychological Operations Debuts New 'Longest Tab'", Duffel Blog, December 29, 2014.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Female Guard Soldier Heading to Ranger School

The Army is pushing ahead with plans to integrate women into Ranger School. One of the first women to go will be from the Utah Army National Guard. The woman is 37-years old. What I remember about Ranger School is it is a young man's game. I went through at age 32 and I was the 4th oldest in the class to graduate. Sure . . . establishing programs like Project Diane and Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) for special operations is a good thing (it worked for the OSS and it can work for Special Forces); but there are ways to train and integrate women into these units without watering down the training standards of existing Army courses. The standards for graduation are going to drop drastically in order to give women the ability to pass Ranger School. There is an old saying that goes like this - "I went through when Ranger School was hard". I am thinking there are a lot of tabbed folks out there getting ready to start saying that. Read more in "Guard soldier among 1st group of women to head to Ranger School", Stars and Stripes, December 24, 2014.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ranger School Open for Women

The U.S. Army has set aside 160 seats for females to attend Ranger School. They will first attend the two-week long Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course. On average, about 45 percent of Ranger School students will graduate. Many of the men fall out in the first few days during the physical fitness evaluation. The test gives candidates two minutes to do 49 push-ups, two minutes to do 59 sit-ups, and they must run five miles in 40 minutes and do six chin-ups. There is no word yet on whether the physical standards will be lowered for all students to accommodate the women, or if there will be different standards, or if the females will just have to "cowboy up" and pass the standards that men have. Read more in "Army sets 160 seats for female Ranger School volunteers"Army Times, December 5, 2014.