The top officer of the U.S. Navy said Tuesday that the service is "on track" to open up its SEAL teams to women who pass the required grueling training course.
According to Navy Times, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert explained in an interview that he and Rear Adm. Brian Losey, who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command, believe that women should be allowed to join SEAL teams if they successfully complete the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, known as BUD/S.
"Why shouldn’t anybody who can meet these [standards] be accepted? And the answer is, there is no reason," Greenert revealed. "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.’"
The BUD/S training course spans six months of physical conditioning, diving and land warfare training.
Losey recently led a comprehensive review that concluded with a recommendation that women be allowed to serve if they fulfill the same requirements as their male counterparts. The recommendation has yet to receive final approval.
The Navy has previously said that it is moving toward opening roles up to women by 2016, but Greenert’s remarks represent the first indication that SEAL teams may eventually accept female candidates.
Officials say that the Army and Air Force are also looking to open up all combat jobs to women. The Marine Corps, on the other hand, is viewed as more resistant to integrating women into its ground combat jobs.
The news comes just as two women are set to become the first female soldiers to graduate from the Army’s Ranger School later this week after the combat leadership course was opened up to women on a trial basis.