MARSOC Prepping for Possible Integration

With MARSOC included as part of the 2013 Department of Defense order to open all units to female soldiers by 2016, the commander of the Marine special operations group, Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman is laying out plans and preparations for possible integration.

According to an interview that Gen. Osterman gave with Marine Corps Times, MARSOC is "Bringing in folks to conduct a review of our standards within MARSOC and our training pipeline...Just to make sure that we've got a good objective set of gender-neutral standards that are there."

The people they are bringing are staff from the US Office of Personnel Management, who will observe and evaluate the training and assessment standards over the coming months. The analysis and recommendations are planned to be finished by summer, in time to implement whatever changes are necessary before the 2016 deadline.

According to Osterman, MARSOC is also doing internal work to meet the requirements for integration, mainly focusing on a the command structure's ability to guide and mentor all Marines throughout any transition that may occur.

In general, little is currently known about how women will integrate in to various Special Operations Command units, even with the looming deadline. However, the Secretary of Defense does have the right to waive the integration requirement for certain units.

The Rangers have planned a one-time assessment for female soldiers, set to start in April with about 60 volunteers. Any that graduate will receive a Ranger tab. The Navy plans to open up the SEALs to females if required to, but has not planned any test classes ahead of the deadline to integrate. The Air Force plans to open up its Pararescue jobs to females by next spring.

In non-MARSOC Marine units, integration is getting mixed results. Over 100 female Marines have graduated from enlisted infantry training over the course of one year, but none have graduated from the Infantry Officers Course in over two years of it being open to women.

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