With the ban lifted on women in combat, now comes the question of whether they are able to get through training. NBC 7 military reporter Lea Sutton spoke to experts on both sides of the debate about SEAL and other military training exercises.
Women can now officially serve in ground combat roles.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order rescinding the 1994 rule that prevented women from being permanently assigned to combat units. Women have been allowed to serve in some combat roles for years, but this new announcement means women could eventually serve as Navy SEALs.
Retired Admiral George Worthington served more than 30 years as a SEAL, and says he supports women serving with SEALs.
But, when it comes to women being SEALs , he doesn’t believe they can make the cut.
“A lot of the men can't do it. They only graduate 25 to 30 percent of the people who volunteer,” said Worthington.
On Thursday, the Pentagon officially lifted the ban on women serving in ground combat.
This may open the doors for women to serve as SEALs, but the training to become a SEAL is arguably the toughest in the military.
Worthington says even beyond the training, the SEALs have a unique culture that's essential to the mission.
“It's the basic essence of Special Ops: you have to work together and develop the camaraderie, and I'm just doubtful that could happen with a female,” said Worthington.
Brent Gleason is also a SEAL combat veteran, and he takes a different stance.
"I'm definitely all for it. I think that women certainly have the mental and physical ability to not only get into the program that is SEAL training, but also to successfully navigate that course and make it into the teams,” said Gleeson.
The services will have to report their implementation plans for opening combat roles to women to the Pentagon by May 15.
But, they have until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions, like the SEALs, should remain closed to women.