Today I followed a hysterically funny, while at the same time sadly anachronistic, online conversation between a few people (men and women) on the subject of women serving in the front lines in combat zones! It was Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra reportedly said. I could have replaced the word “Combat Duty” with a collection of other words used to argue whether women can do as good as job as men, starting with “Citizen” in ancient Athens, to “Worker”, “Voter”, “Driver”, “Machine Operator”, “Pilot”, “CEO”, and a host of other jobs on a list that goes on through our so-called Modern Times. What a bunch on chauvinistic nonsense! In the end, equally qualified woman have been as good as equally qualified man in every field women have chosen to participate. The military is no different. As long as the “Standard” for qualification is met, there is no reason women should be excluded from anything. Of course I am not naïve; we may be equal, but we are not the same; and Thank God for that! There are physical differences between the genders at a number of levels, and we need to acknowledge and be honest about that. It should be all about “The Standard”. Now, I do think it is equally important to make ensure the “Standard” is appropriate and not adapted to favor one gender over the other. For example, if extreme physical strength is not a requirement for a particular role or position, making it part of the standard is by design statistically more favorable to men without a good reason. That would not be a fair standard, even if a few women who are extraordinarily strong would not be discriminated from entering that field. And the whole conversation about sexual tension and the potential of affairs between members of a combat unit reminded me of discussions about mixing people of different genders, racial, or ethnic backgrounds on project teams. Diversity is an important success factor in today’s environment and gender is just another variable a commander, or a manager, has to consider for the purposes of unit cohesion, but that it is all it is. Just another variable!