Commandant: Some Marine jobs may stay closed to women

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said Wednesday that some positions in the Marines may remain closed to women if only a small percentage can meet the physical standards.

But nearly all combat positions in the Marines would be opened up to women, Amos said in an interview with USA Today discussing the end of the ban on women in combat.

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"If the numbers are so small with regards to qualification, then there very may well be [job fields] that remain closed," Amos said. "Those will be few and far between."

Amos reiterated that physical standards for combat positions would not be changed due to the end of the ban, repeating the line from Pentagon leaders that standards would be gender neutral.

“We can't afford to lower standards," Amos told USA Today. "We can't make adjustments on what's required on the battlefield.

"That's not why America has a Marine Corps," he said.

The Marines and the other military services are beginning to implement the end of the combat ban for women after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey rescinded the ban last week.

The services have until 2016 to determine whether any jobs or units should remain closed to women, all of which require the approval of the Defense secretary.

The majority of the 237,000 positions closed to women are in the Army and Marines. The Marines currently has 28 fields closed to women.

Amos said Wednesday that even if one or two women were able to meet the standards required for a unit, he might still want to keep it closed because that would make it difficult for them to succeed.

"You want to have assimilation … so our females can mentor one another," Amos said.