WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Navy is preparing to allow women into the ranks of its SEAL teams, the Navy’s chief operations officer told Defense News on Tuesday.
“Why shouldn’t anybody who can meet these (standards) be accepted? And the answer is, there is no reason,” Adm. Jon Greenert told the publication. “So we’re on a track to say, ‘Hey look, anybody who can meet the gender non-specific standards, then you can become a SEAL.'”
If women can pass the unit’s demanding training requirements, Greenert said, they will be allowed into the elite force. Officials did not reveal to Defense News when they plan to allow women to compete for a spot.
Commander William Marks with Navy Public Affairs confirmed Greenert’s statement to CNN.
The announcement by the Navy comes as two women are about to become the first female soldiers to graduate from the Army’s Ranger School on Friday.
The Pentagon describes Ranger School as “the Army’s premier combat leadership course, teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead Soldiers during small unit combat operations.”
The current class started in April with 381 men and 19 women. The students were forced to train with minimal food and little sleep and had to learn how to operate in the woods, mountains and swamplands.
Students also had to undergo a physical fitness test that included 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes, six chin-ups, a swim test, a land navigation test, a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.
By the end of the 62-day course, only 94 men and two women met all the requirements.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Barbara Starr and Eugene Scott contributed to this report