Establishing Gender-Neutral Physical Standards for Ground Combat Occupations
Jun 19, 2018
In 2013, the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) announced that the last policy restricting the military service of women, the direct ground combat exclusion rule, would end. The SecDef also directed the services to validate occupational standards and ensure they are gender neutral. This report identifies the best-practice methodologies for establishing valid, gender-neutral standards for physically demanding military jobs.
Volume 1. A Review of Best-Practice Methods
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Since the establishment of the all-volunteer force in 1973, representation of women in the U.S. military has risen to 15 percent, and an increasing number of military occupations have been opened to them. On January 24, 2013, the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) announced that the last remaining policy restricting the service of women, the direct ground combat exclusion rule, would be rescinded. With this policy change, women can serve in any occupation and assignment for which they can meet the occupational standards. However, prior to allowing ground combat jobs to be opened to women, the SecDef also directed the military services to validate their occupational standards to ensure they appropriately reflect occupational requirements and are gender neutral.
This report describes the best-practice methodologies for establishing gender-neutral standards for physically demanding jobs as consisting of six stages. Well-established professional guidelines for study designs, methods, analyses, and data considerations are discussed in detail for each of the six stages and key methodological considerations at each stage are identified.
Methodological Approaches to Establishing Physical Job Requirements
Identify the Physical Demands of the Job
Identify Potential Screening Tests
Validate and Select Tests
Establish Minimum Scores
Confirm Tests Are Working as Intended
The research is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
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