Special Ops General Concerned with ‘Culture, Social Behavior’ Aspects of Women in Combat

Photo Credit: Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office

Photo Credit: Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office

As the Defense Department rolled out its plans today to integrate women into combat roles, a director at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) expressed the loudest skepticism from military leaders yet that the administration’s Jan. 1, 2016, goal would go off without a hitch.

…Maj. Gen. Bennet Sacolick, director of force management and development at SOCOM, told reporters at the Pentagon today that he’s making no guarantees.

“We have some genuine concerns that must be addressed prior to making an informed recommendation to the secretary of defense, a recommendation which complies with the chairman’s guiding principles of preserving unit readiness, cohesion, and morale,” Sacolick said.

“Of particular concern is our mission set, which predominantly requires our forces to operate in small, self-contained teams, many of which are in austere, geographically isolated, politically sensitive environments for extended periods of time. This complexity requires a unique assessment predicated upon detailed analysis, ultimately providing a single, clear, consistent procedure for execution throughout the SOCOM enterprise”…

“Their concerns are, you know, once again, that you got a 12-men ODA [the primary operational element of a Special Forces company] and an isolated case, how is that — what are the implications there?” he said of the reaction from men in the field. “There’s all those things that we’re concerned about, probably more so than the actual standards in our qualification courses…culture, social behavior. Those aspects of ultimate integration.”

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