Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 73

BIASES the same physically demanding activity, such as the fifty-four-hour intensive Marine Corps “Crucible,” expend energy proportional to their body size, with energy costs averaging 6,400 kilocalories per day (kcal/d) for men, compared to 4,730 kcal/d for women.6 Accommodating these greater energy requirements is (Photo by Sgt. Russell Klika, DVIDS) Female soldiers conduct medical training with simulated casualties 12 May 2011 during an iteration of the a logistics burden Cultural Support Assessment and Selection program. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command's cultural of questionable support program prepares all-female soldier teams to serve as enablers supporting Army special operations advantage—unless combat forces in and around secured objective areas. large men also serve as surrogate pack mules, carrying heavy loads environments is likely associated with a progesterone of food for the force’s increased consumption. effect on chemoreceptor sensitivity and a more appropriate ventilatory response to hypoxia.11 Physiological Capabilities It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find out if Conceivably, in the all-women’s Army, men could men, despite their physiological limitations, could sucperform as well as women in stressful and prolonged ceed in demanding specialties such as Army Rangers physical activities such as Ranger School if small doses of or Special Forces. Assumptions that men could not female sex steroids were administered to increase endur- perform as well as women would justify the Army’s ance. Experiments with healthy young men have demon- reluctance to open even training opportunities for men. strated that it is possible to improve their endurance Some readers may find it ridiculous to prevent men metabolism with short-term estrogen administration.7 It from participating in special operations, or to assume is well established that in women’s bodies, estrogen causthey could not match women’s endurance physiology. es better lipid utilization for energy metabolism while But, the women’s Army uses other kinds of physical sparing muscle protein and glycogen.8 This enhances tests than the absolute strength tests designed to favor women’s ability to function in a high-stress environment men (e.g., rope climbs, pull-ups, or 200-pound dumand sustain submaximal exercise performance substanmy drags). Men would have trouble competing with tially longer than men.9 Women are better able than men women in tests of endurance and stress limits designed to access lipids for energy in such conditions, and they around the well-trained special operations woman. appear better able to sustain small-unit leadership perWhat is not well known for men or women is just how f