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Marines Are Testing Women for Combat Leadership

“Change doesn’t come easy to the United States Marine Corps,” said Gen. James Amos to the National Press Club. “But when it does, when it’s rooted, it lasts forever. So I think we’ll work our way through it.”

What do they need to work through? Apparently, some anxiety from male Marines as female officers work their way into combat jobs.

Amos says that the early steps moving women into tank air defense, infantry, and combat engineering units have been successful, but the test is what lies ahead.

In September, female Marine officers will attend the grueling infantry officer school at the Marine Corps’ Quantico Base as part of an experiment to gauge whether women can handle the physical and psychological stress.

Two women have volunteered for the 13-week course, which generally sees only 75-80 percent graduate when only males are attending.

Officials will evaluate the females and give the data and a recommendation to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

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