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Navy SEALs won't change standards for women, admiral says

The legendary Navy SEALs have no plans to alter their strenuous rigorous ​physical fitness standards as they open the doors to women in 2016, according to the Navy's personnel bossthe chief of naval personnel​.

After a review by Naval Special Warfare and U.S. Special Operations Command, the tried-and-true run, swim, sit-ups, pullups and push-ups scheme used by the SEAL and Special Warfare Combat Crewman communities will stay, the chief of naval personnel said. Vice Adm. Bill Moran told Navy Times on Wednesday.

The service chiefs have until Jan. 1 to submit their integration plans and timetables to the secretary of defense for approval, with an April 1 roll-out date.

"I literally submitted that paper ...  to MNRA and the CNO and the vice chief ​last night," Vice Adm. Bill Moran said of his piece of the plan, which will be reviewed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. "We have our plan. We've been leaning pretty far forward on this. We're ready to go."

But "ready to go" doesn't mean there's any​ hurry to rush women into a physically demanding training that compels nearly three-quarters of men to drop out. hold a woman up as a shining example.

"For young women that want to be in that community, we've got to give them time to get ready," he said. "So I'm not in a rush to push the first one through and get at it that way."

Tough standards

When the Defense Department announced in 2013 its plans to lift the exemption on women in combat roles, the services were ordered to evaluate their physical standards and be forced to make the case why any jobs should remain closed to qualified women. make a case for why they should stay m or how they could be modified to closer align with job descriptions.

"The standards were thoroughly reviewed by SOCOM and SPECWARCOM for the Navy. [Rear] Adm. [Brian] Losey's team fed that to SOCOM, SOCOM approved that the standards we have are the standards we need," Moran said. "And if you meet the standard and you're able to become a SEAL or a SWCC."

Each community has its own set of standards, which are the entry level requirements to be chosen:

SEAL

  • 500-yard swim: 12:30 minimum, 9:00 optimum
  • 1.5 mile run: 10:30 minimum, 9:30 optimum

And in two minutes or less:

  • Push-ups: 50 minimum, 90 optimum
  • Curl-ups: 50 minimum, 85 optimum
  • Pull-ups: 10 minimum, 18 optimum

SWCC

  • 500-yard swim: 13:00 minimum, 9:30 optimum
  • 1.5 mile run: 12:00 minimum, 10:30 optimum

And in two minutes or less:

  • Push-ups: 50 minimum, 80 optimum
  • Curl-ups: 50 minimum, 75 optimum
  • Pull-ups: 6 minimum, 15 optimum

Still, meeting these standards are they are not a guarantee of entry.

In fiscal year 2014, the average in-fleet SEAL or SWCC candidate who was selected

for training

​did more than 22 pullups in his PST, said NSW recruiting directorate commanding officer Capt. Duncan Smith

told Navy Times

​last year, .

"In other words, the requirement of 10 pullups doesn’t even get you looked at," Smith said.

Despite the bare minimum requirements, applicants in each monthly pool compete against each other for a limited number of spots, so the selection ends up with a curve. Of hundreds of thousands who contact NSW recruiting every year, maybe 10,000 work with a recruiter to prepare, and less than 700 will end up cleared for training, Smith said.

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training is known as one of the toughest schools in the U.S. military, but there are also several steps leading up to it.

To start SEAL prep school, candidates must complete:

  • 1000-meter swim, with fins, in 22 minutes or less
  • At least 70 push-ups in two minutes
  • At least 10 pullups in two minutes
  • At least 60 curl-ups in two minutes
  • Four-mile run, with shoes and pants, in under 31 minutes

Many enlisted SEALs are already in the pipeline when they sign their contracts. Then there are those who select during boot camp and join the contractees at a five-to-nine week course with the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School at Great Lakes.

There they are joined by SEAL officer candidates, who have gone through their own rigorous screening, a year of physical and mental training as well as mentoring in Coronado, California, at NSW's headquarters.

"Most of our sailors who go through those programs, even before they go to military training, they start that on their own time," said Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW) April Beldo, Moran's senior enlisted adviser, of the path to NSW.

It will take time to get women into that cycle, Moran said.

"We are less interested in headlines and a lot more interested in success," he added. "Success may take a lot more time than people want to write a headline about."

NSW is grueling enough for men, Moran said.

"With 25 percent staying after the first three, four weeks at BUD/S, you've got to be prepared mentally and physically for that."

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