Men and women are held to two different physical fitness standards–VASTLY different standards— yet we all compete against each other for assignments and promotions. I don’t compete against just the other men in my career field for promotions and career-enhancing jobs, I compete against EVERYONE in my career field. With the doors to combat arms branches and units being flung wide open to admit women, those women have institutionalized, gender-based bias in their favor when it comes to physical fitness standards as they join units that highly value physical fitness. They aren’t any more fit, mind you; they just enjoy a much better score on their physical fitness evaluations.Promotion points are a big deal, and physical fitness tests definitely influence promotions. You could easily see the opening of the combat arms to women meaning that women are promoted ahead of much more physically fit men, which sets up a dangerous situation in the field. It's already the case that your platoon sergeants, being E-7s, are going to be much older than the young men (and, I suppose, soon women) they are commanding. They're the ones with the experience to know what to do and how to do it, and to bring these young guys back. If we set up those privates with NCOs who are physically fragile by comparison, we are setting them up for failure. Failure means death. It could mean the collapse of the unit, too, which means that the whole infantry structure will be weaker on the "for want of a nail" principle.
Because of their gender, and all other things held equal, female troops have an unfair advantage over men because a number on their evaluation will be significantly higher in physical fitness tests for the exact same quantifiable performance. And because the Army is an institution that values easily-quantifiable numbers over substance when it comes to promotions, women have a distinct and unfair advantage.
As just one example, in the 17-21 year old age group, the minimum passing score for men is 42 pushups. What is the maximum score for women in that exact same age group? You guessed it, 42 pushups. So in this age bracket, 60 points for men = 100 points for women. The bare minimum score for a male Soldier is literally the max possible score for a female. This would be the academic equivalent of giving a D-minus to a male student while giving an A+ to a female for getting the exact same answers right on a test.
Now, the counterargument -- which has heretofore held the day -- is that equality means making sure that women aren't excluded from promotion. If you really held them to the male physical fitness standards, only the women who could max the female PFT would even pass the non-gendered PFT. While being able to do well on the PFT is important for promotion, not being able to pass it on multiple attempts is grounds for dismissal. Accepting genuine equality of standards thus means accepting a lot fewer women in the military.
I don't particularly care about "fairness" standards -- I think men and women are too different for any talk of "same standards" to be sensible in any case. The other examples he gives -- women can have longer hair! Can wear earrings! Are sometimes excused from uniform standards! -- don't strike me as important, and I'm completely opposed to the idea of registering women for the draft. We don't use the draft anyway, and if we ever have a big enough war that we need to, our civilization will need those young women to recover in terms of population. Men are far more disposable on that score. That's not fair either. Life isn't.
The point about a sharply increased fragility in the NCO corps on the field of war, however, is really strong. That's a serious danger: to the soldiers, to the units, to the successful execution of tactics, of strategy, of national security. It's a change with the potential to be genuinely disastrous. At least for the combat arms, maintaining standards can't be done if existing lower standards for women are employed.
UPDATE: OAF Nation weighs in. An excerpt of the argument that I think strongest:
For some odd reason, the anatomical argument receives the least traction (maybe because it’s irrefutable statistics, therefore a buzzkill to the debate). So, I will play the game and abide, and get the anatomical stuff out of the way. It is truly the tip of an ice burg called the Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women , but consider these stats: the astronomical difference in reported pelvic stress fractures in male and female recruits (1 per 367 females, compared to 1 per 40,000 males), ACL ruptures in athletes (females range from 2.4 to 9.7 times higher), or trainees discharged from Basic Combat Training for medical reasons (12.7% females, compared with only 5.2% for males). These are only a few of the many findings that should obviously be considered.