Establishing Gender-Neutral Physical Standards for Ground Combat Occupations: Volume 1. A Review of Best-Practice Methods
Jun 19, 2018
This report (Volume 2) provides the results of RAND researchers' work reviewing and evaluating the U.S. military services' methodologies for setting gender-neutral physical standards for combat occupations (occupations that were previously closed to women), using the best-practice methodology described in Volume 1 of this report as a framework for evaluating the services' efforts.
In January 2013, the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced rescission of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, which restricted assignments of women to occupational assignments or positions in or collocated with direct ground combat units. After the decision to eliminate the rule, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act directed establishment of gender-neutral and valid physical standards prior to opening any of the restricted occupations to women and gave the services until October 2015 to demonstrate that such standards were in place.
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness asked RAND to help it understand how to evaluate job-specific physical requirements and establish gender-neutral standards for physically demanding jobs. Our study addressed two research objectives. The first was to describe best-practice methodologies for establishing gender-neutral standards for physically demanding jobs, tailored to address the needs of the military. The second was to review and evaluate the methodologies being used by the services to set gender-neutral standards.
This report (Volume 2) provides the results of work toward the second research objective, using the best-practice methodology described in Volume 1 of this study as a framework. The review began in 2013, as the services planned their efforts, and ended in April 2015, about six months prior to the 2015 deadline and before the services had completed the final stages of their work. Volume 1 offers detailed explanations of terms used in this report.
Recommended Process for Establishing Physical Standards
The Analytic Approach for Evaluating the Services’ Efforts
Army Combat Arms
Army Special Operations Forces
Marine Corps Combat Arms
Marine Corps Special Operations Forces
Navy Special Operations Forces
Air Force Battlefield Airmen
Overarching Observations, Findings, and Recommendations
Terminology Used in Setting Physical Standards
Physically Demanding Occupations Open to Women Before 2016