“Unfortunately, we have not had a sufficient number of serving female soldiers and [noncommissioned officers] volunteer to transfer into these mentorship and leadership roles,” Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey said in a memo to troops, the Army Times reports.
The over 220,000 previously men-only positions include infantry soldiers, cavalry scouts and tank crewmembers. The Army’s plan to introduce women to these roles was to first train female lieutenants and sergeants and then move on to lower-ranking soldiers, the Fiscal Times explained.
Issues with the new policies have also been seen in the Marines, where the majority of women are failing the tests required to get into the combat jobs that are newly opened in their ranks.
In June, the Associated Press reported that six out of seven women who have taken the physical fitness test for the Marines combat roles have failed, a rate of 85.7%. Among men, the failure rate is approximately 2.7%.
Opponents of allowing women into combat roles have cited these rates to express concern over the military lowering their bar. Proponents of the changes argue that the sample size is too small to make judgements.
“It’s pretty disingenuous to discount an entire gender based on a sample size of seven women,” Representative Jackie Speier, a member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said in a statement. “Using that logic, more men than women failed the test – should we question whether men have the right to serve in combat?”