Few women will qualify for land combat: report

U.S. Army Spc. Jennifer Wilkinson (left) a Henryetta, Okla., native…

U.S. Army Spc. Jennifer Wilkinson (left) a Henryetta, Okla., native and Female Engagement Team member with Company A, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Creek, poses for a photo with an interpreter and a group of children during a humanitarian aid mission in Paktia province, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2011. The humanitarian aid drops typically consist of blankets, hygiene products, book bags, food and baby clothes. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Matthew Ferguson/Released)

The congressional report and the Marine Corps memo come as pro-defense conservatives are exploring ways to ensure that the Obama administration does not ease rigorous standards as a way to make sure women qualify for direct combat jobs.

When Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta last month removed the policy prohibiting women from serving in direct combat units — infantry, armor and special operations — he vowed not create two standards, citing the 1993 Gender-Neutral Occupational Performance Standards as the guide.

However, that law might not prevent the creation of a two-tiered qualification system, the Congressional Research Service said in a Feb. 7 report to Congress. The Times has obtained a copy of the document.

Citing the Air Force as an example, the report said that the armed services today employ significantly different physical standards for men and women. It notes that women are not required to do as many situps and pullups or to run as fast as men.

Read the rest of Rowan Scarborough’s report for the The Washington Times.

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