The U.S. Naval Academy will open the Navy SEAL training screening process to Women next year. The Navy's announcement came from Vice Adm. Walter "Ted" Carter less than a week after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the military will open all combat jobs to women.
Carter said the Naval Academy is waiting for specific guidance from the Navy before definitely opening next spring's Navy SEAL screening to women. He also said it could take longer before female midshipmen will actually take part in the rigorous 24-hour marathon screening process.
"We'll be ready to put women through the screener as early as next year," Carter said. "I don't know that we could move any faster, but it could be longer depending on what the details of the policy decisions are."
The academy, which has Navy SEALs on its staff, conducts the screening on its grounds in the spring and fall. It tests physical, mental and teamwork abilities. The screening is a gateway to additional opportunities each summer at Basic Underwater Demolition training, which is conducted in the Naval Special Warfare Center at Naval Base Coronado-Naval Amphibious Base in California.
If the screening in Annapolis, Maryland, is opened to women next year, female midshipmen in the Class of 2017 could be the first to graduate from the academy to go on to become members of the elite naval commando force.
Col. Stephen Liszewski, the commandant of midshipmen, said "Based on the talent that I see here, the physical attributes, the performance in our physical training scores, the performance on the field of sport, I'm very confident for the women that truly want to do this we'll have some that can do it."
A veteran who spent 13 years as a Navy SEAL recently wrote in an article in Forbes that opening combat roles to women is a bad idea.
"Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s historic decision to open up all combat roles to women poses a serious threat to those who serve on the front lines—something that only people who serve in those capacities understand, and something those who do not never will."
First Phase, the basic conditioning phase, is seven weeks long and develops the class in physical training, water competency and mental tenacity while continuing to build teamwork. Each week, the class is expected to do more running, swimming and calisthenics than the week before, and each man's performance is measured by a four-mile timed run, a timed obstacle course, and a two-mile timed swim. In addition to physical training, the class also learns how to conduct hydrographic survey operations.
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