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U.S. Army Unveils Historic Test Program for Ranger School Set to Begin This Spring

(IJReview) -- Army officials have announced a pilot program allowing female soldiers to participate in Ranger School, starting in April.

The Army Times reports:

The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat arms jobs to women.

Army leaders will closely monitor the pilot program, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Jan. 6 during a virtual town hall meeting with soldiers.

All branches of the military are assessing how to comply with a policy announced in January 2013 to “eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.” All occupational standards, including specialty schools, must be “up to date and gender-neutral.”

Last week, it was reported that two females attempting the Marine Corps Infantry Course were dropped, leading some outside the military to call for different standards for women.

But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno reiterated that Ranger standards would be universal and gender-neutral.

“We’re just going to let the statistics speak for themselves as we go through this,” he said, in response to a question from a soldier. “The main thing I’m focused on is the standards remain the same. In order to earn that tab, you have to do all the things necessary to earn that tab. We want to try a pilot to let women have the opportunity to do that.”

Historically, a significant percentage of soldiers attempting Ranger School are cut from the course for failing to meet physical fitness requirements.

In this pilot program, the Army has not stated what types of results would constitute a success, but instead is seeking to gain information upon which to base future plans and recommendations.

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