Marine Gen. John Kelly on Friday said he fears that commanders will be pressured by “agenda-driven people” in Washington to lower military standards in order to allow more women into combat positions.
“My greatest fear — and we see this happen a lot over the 45 years I’ve been in the Armed Forces is, right now they’re saying we are not going to change any standards,” said Kelly, who is retiring this month, at his last Pentagon briefing.
“So I think it will be the pressure for not probably the generals that are here now, but for the generals to come, and admirals, to lower standards because that’s the only way it’ll work in the way that I hear some people, particularly, the agenda-driven people here in Washington … they want it to work,” he said.
Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, predicted the pressure to lower standards will come due to the low numbers of women who will end up in combat roles.
“There will be great pressure, whether it’s 12 months from now, four years from now, because the question will be asked whether we’ve let women into these other roles; why aren’t they staying in those other roles; why aren’t they advancing as infantry people?”
“The answer is, I think will be, if we don’t change the standards, it will be very, very difficult to have any numbers — any real numbers come into the infantry, or the Rangers or the SEALS,” he said.
Kelly also said young women would be more prone to injuries due to the nature of infantry combat.
“The other aspect is, because of the nature of infantry combat, infantry training, and all of rest, there’s a higher percentage of young women in the scientific study that get hurt, and some of them get hurt forever,” he added.