The U.S. Army apparently has decided to gender-norm scores on the test it administers for combat fitness. As I understand this report in the Washington Post, rather than comparing men’s and women’s scores, women will be judged based on how they perform in relation to other women.
This radical change is a response to the unsurprising fact that women are failing the Army’s combat fitness test to a disproportionate extent. The test in question evaluates soldiers in six events: dead lifts, a two-mile run, push-ups, a shuttle run, a medicine ball throw and leg tucks, in which soldiers must hang from a bar and bring their knees to their elbows. About 54 percent of women and 7 percent of men failed the test last year.
Thus, in the name of “equity,” women will be able to pass by scoring well in relation to other women, not in absolute terms.
Determining who is fit for combat based in part on gender, rather than solely on actual fitness, is a crazy idea. The harsh reality is an army that lowers its combat fitness standard in the name of gender equity (or for any other extraneous reason) is an army that risks becoming unfit for combat.
This common sense view is shared by Capt. Kristen Griest, who made history in 2015 as one of the first two women to graduate the Army’s famously difficult Ranger School. The Post notes that Capt. Griest has avoided the media spotlight for years. However, the insanity of gender norming combat fitness scores has caused her to speak out.
In a column for the Modern War Institute at West Point, Griest stated:
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.
The Captain knows whereof she speaks. She was the first woman to lead a company of infantrymen, commanding in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. She has deployed twice to Afghanistan.
Naturally, Griest’s comments generated criticism from the wokerati. Jerri Bell, who served in the Navy during the 1990s, accused Griest of “internalizing misogyny.”
This, though, is name-calling. It’s not an argument.
Lt. Col. Lisa Jaster, who also passed the Ranger’s course, had the right response to Bell’s non-argument. She said it’s misogynistic to have separate guidelines for men and women. She added:
It’s very frustrating for those of us who want to be thought of as equals and peers. It puts an automatic asterisk by each of our accomplishments.
To paraphrase an old saying, those who can do, those who can’t whine about “inequity.”
And the rest of us suffer from the erosion of excellence, and maybe even of competence, in institution after institution.