An Air Force inspector general investigation into alleged favoritism in the service’s special operations enterprise concluded that leaders did not bend the rules for a female trainee who pulled out of contention for an elite combat job.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall green-lit the investigation after an anonymous letter posted to social media in January alleged that service officials are turning a blind eye to the captain’s poor performance as she ventures to become the first female special tactics officer. But the four-month inquiry found that Air Force special warfare standards were not lowered specifically to benefit women.
A recent article from the Air Force Times highlighted the four-month inquiry into the Air Force’s special warfare standards towards women.
Below is an excerpt from that article.
“Facts did not support the letter’s claims of gender-based preferential treatment,” the report said. “The letter’s assertions are based mainly on … ‘cultural norms,’ knowledge of half the story and widely spread speculation fueled by special warfare students, instructor cadre and operators.”
Special tactics is the Air Force’s name for a collection of commando jobs, including combat controllers, pararescue and special reconnaissance airmen, who are all led by special tactics officers. It’s a small cohort within the far larger Air Force Special Operations Command, comprising roughly 1,000 operators, and is the service’s most decorated community since the Vietnam War.
The female captain, called “Candidate X” in the report, is one of only a few women who have attempted to earn a commando’s beret since the Air Force opened the prestigious career fields to female airmen in 2016. None have succeeded.
“AFSOC and [Air Education and Training Command] are working together to ensure the training pipeline meets the demands of what we need for the operator of today and into the future,” the Air Force said in a statement provided to Air Force Times Tuesday. “Our commanders are meeting with their teams to ensure open communication about the investigation results and to address any questions/concerns.”
To read the full article from the Air Force Times, click here.