Some positions in the Marine Corps may remain closed to women if only a small percentage can meet the physical standards, its top commander said.
"If the numbers are so small with regards to qualification, then there very may well be (job fields) that remain closed," Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said in an interview Tuesday with USA Today.
"Those will be few and far between."
Amos stated that nearly all combat positions in the Marines would be opened up to women. He drove home the point made earlier by Pentagon leaders that physical standards for combat positions would be gender neutral and would not be changed due to the end of the ban on women in combat.
“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.
Amos guaranteed the opportunities opened up by the Marine Corps will be offered without adjusting requirements.
"We've got too much combat experience for me to even suggest lowering the standards," Amos said. "So I'm not going to do it."
The Marines and the other military services have begun implementing 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 Martin Dempsey rescinded the ban last week.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 general said codifying requirements among all facets of the Marine Corps is a move that was waiting to happen.
"This is not writing standards now in an effort to exclude females," Amos said. "This is writing and developing standards that quite frankly should have been developed years ago and have not been."
"This isn't a subtle way of saying, 'OK, we're going to have standards and so we're going to exclude our women, '” Amos said. “It's actually just the opposite."
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