Three of the original nineteen women going into ranger school have graduated. That’s 16%.

Accordingly, the Army has determined that this justifies more women attending and has opened up Ranger school to the wider female populace.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the expected Ranger graduation rate of the pre-ranger students was around 50%. The expected graduation rate of a Ranger class in general is 40-50% (on average). The women graduated at rates between one-half and one-third of the expected rates. Assuming Pre-Ranger did its job, and assuming that “women can do everything men can”, we’d have expected comparable graduation rates coming out of Pre-Ranger going through Ranger School.

So where was the failure point? Was it in the preparation, that Pre-Ranger was inadequate? Was it in Ranger School, that was too hard? Or… could there other reasons, which include that women are on average physiologically less fit for this kind of job, and that getting over the low bar of passing an Army school does not actually qualify one as prepared for the rigors of combat.

Also, again, as I covered, this also ultimately means that instead of getting 8 or 10 Rangers from their slots, the Army got 3.

In no possible way does this make sense from a combat efficacy standpoint. It only makes sense to maintain this program from a political and social-agenda standpoint. This is of course exactly the argument that the Army will use to continue the program, despite the obvious waste of resources, and eventually, as the line of thought and program implications continue, of lives.

I wondered whether the ongoing politicization of the Army and military in general has impacted the quality of USMA (West Point) recruiting. This led me to take a look at admissions stats for the last 20 admitted classes, where I compiled key statistics and developed some trends.

My first takeaway is that, despite the hype and government-funded advertising campaigns, West Point is not an elite school, judging by the academic quality of the admitted class and compared to recognized elite schools. For USMA’s classes, the average subject SATs (Math, Verbal) are in the 640s and 620s respectively, and about 70% of an entering class is in the top fifth of their high school class.

In contrast, Columbia’s (as a representative “elite school”) entering class profile looks like this:

Columbia '18 profile columbia2

Wow! What a difference. There are some pretty significant gaps in any story where USMA is an elite school. It’s unlikely that more than a small percentage of USMA admits could get into a truly elite school. John T Reed has also covered this, although I can’t find the article at the moment. This also dovetails nicely into the current military-as-minority hiring and admitting fetish going on in American culture at the moment; affirmative action is based on the unspoken mediocrity of the help-ees, and military hiring or admittance preferences are no different. 

The question for USMA then ought to be whether the quality of the class is improving over time. From USMA class profiles (of which this profile for the class of 2012 is typical, with another sample posted on WordPress for Class of 2015), there are some key indicators of what they’re looking for:

  • Rank in class
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • National Merit recognition
  • Valedictorian
  • Lettered in sports
  • Other social participation (boy scouts, etc)

Has USMA shown any appreciable improvement in recruiting or class development over the last 20 classes? It should be noted that other elite schools, as noted by Charles Murray, have become essentially funnels or catchments for very talented individuals as aptitude testing has become widespread, resulting in a sort of brain-drain towards elite institutions. USMA has a different mission than these schools, but in an ideal world is also seeking to enhance its applicant and matriculation pool in order to get more talent into the military system. Failure to do that will essentially hobble the military in a generation or two (or already has) by precluding the personnel talent necessary to excel.

(On the other hand, in the spirit of “you don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the slowest guy in your group”, maybe the military just needs to be better than the best of our competitors, in which case having elite talent in the academies is not necessary – you’d just need better talent than, say, Russia. This is the theory of mediocrity.)

Regardless, here are some key trends, based on looking at the classes of 2000 to 2019, and using trailing 5-class averages:

  1. USMA has done a somewhat better job increasing the admissions pool at the high end of the SAT score spectrum over the last 20 classes. Verbal scores in the 700-800 range went from 16% of the class admitted in 1998 to 22% of the class admitted in 2015. That’s a 37% increase.
  2. However, average verbal SATs only went from 623 to 628. We’d have to get into the Standard deviation that represents, which I don’t want to do here, but a 5pt increase is negligible. What happened?
  3. The percentage of the class in the 400-499 range went from 2% to 4% over the same time period. Oops! Admitting more high achievers, but also a lot more – 100% more –  rocks.
  4. Similarly for math, the 700-800 range went from 22% to 28% (A ~30% increase) and for the 400-499 range from 0% to 2%.
  5. Valedictorians went from 8% of the class to 9% of the class
  6. National Merit Recognition (NMR) went from 19% to 14% of the class. This is important because it’s a standard measure against the national quality pool, and it dropped by 26%.
  7. Class president percentages went from 19% to 13%. For a school that would explain the lack of quality academic recruiting by looking for “leaders,” this is troublesome.
  8. Percentages of females went from 16% to 22%. This may explain the decline in NMR and class president percentages. Women tend to be studious high achievers, but not exceptional leaders or on the far right of the aptitude curves.
  9. Percentage of the class in the first 5th of the high school class went from 78% to 71%; 2nd 5th from 15% to 19%; 3rd 5th from 4% to 9%; 4th 5th from 2% to 1%. More of the just-above or just-below-average students, many fewer exceptional students.
  10. Average class applicant pool went from 12886 to 14836 (again, class of 2000 to class of 2019). This is a 16% increase.
  11. Average class size grew from 1187 to 1227, or about a 3% increase. Insignificant.

Or, in short bullet points:

  • West Point is getting significantly more applicants than in recent history
  • Quality, judged by National Merit Recognition, class placement, and leadership, is going down despite the increased applicant pool.
  • SAT Scores are bifurcating somewhat – the average on the high end is going up to make up for the rocks being admitted, presumably to keep the wasteful and failing athletic programs afloat by admitting more athletes who can’t quite hack the academics but can play defensive lineman.
  • I can’t conclusively say that the politicization of the Army has impacted the quality of the applicant or admit pool, but can say that the trend is negative with regards to average admit quality. This does not speak well of the Academy leadership’s stewardship of the institution or the quality of the officer going out into the Army. Maybe this demographic group is the best that the Army can do given the Academy’s mission and service constraints, but it seems as though the recruiting is sacrificing quality for sports, and not working at improving the applicant pools over time.

One of the things that attracts martially minded men to the Academy is its masculinity, its rigor, its challenge, its tradition, and its history. It is (or was) an honorable thing to do, especially in service to country. But when we have Chiefs of Staff saying that “combating sexual assault and sexual harassment within the ranks is our number one priority”, when we insist on combat integration, when we mustn’t let diversity become a casualty of terrorism, when we focus inordinate amounts of energy and effort on projects like getting women through ranger school, then the warrior ethos, focus on effective warfighting, on talent acquisition and development, all of what makes the Army strong and appealing to the people who actually fight the wars becomes diluted and weakened by the political messages. When making “comments” in an email chain is enough to get you something called “intense respect rehabilitation“, you know the culture has been crippled.

Ultimately, this is a national security issue – great talent can’t be used in 20 years if it’s not identified and developed now.

When we undermine what makes an institution great and valued, we shouldn’t be surprised when high-quality people value it less.

Some referenced data:

USMA class1 USMA class2 USMA SAT1 USMA SAT2 USMA recognition1

The VW emissions cheating scandal, with 11 million cars about to be fixed, offers a unique opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the environmental program and credibility of climate change scientists as a whole.
To wit: if at least 11 million cars were supposedly reducing emissions, but were actually not, then we can match up the predicted impact of the emissions reduction with what actually happened, in a sort of blind test methodology.

If the climate models purported to show improvement or positive impact from the “reduction”, then we know (even more than we do now) they are full of crap because the cars didn’t actually reduce emissions.

If there was no reduction, or even a worsening in conditions, did the “scientists” acknowledge a lack of impact of the car program, or simply blame other causes in the ongoing and ever-widening power grab of the modern environmental agenda?  “No matter what we do, it’s never enough!”

If the models can’t distinguish between when a reduction initiative is in effect and when it’s not, then they (and the people who use them) are worthless.

This is all hypothetical of course because “anthropogenic global warming climate change” is a non-falsifiable dogma anyway, but it’s a fun experiment to look at what people say when they think they’re doing one thing and actually doing another.

Our crack scientific minds, beaverishly working to better our brave new world and society, have developed a way to grow functional sperm in a lab:

The sperm cells made in an artificial “bioreactor” look identical to those produced naturally. The technology could be used in two to four years to help infertile men have their own biological children, according to researchers based at a French national research institute in Lyon.

I’m sure we can depend on this group to be just as diligent in the recreation of oocytes, but in the meantime, men are biologically obsolete. Need to get pregnant? Mail-order some sperm. Don’t like hubby’s genes? Get your local drug store to give you something better.

Note: Biologically obsolete in the sense of strictly reproduction – Men will still be characteristically different from women in aptitudes and proclivities, and will continue to keep everyone out of grass huts.

What this means is that the companionate model of marriage centered around romantic love will actually be the dominant model of marriage in a few years (or decades, whichever) through purely functional forces. After all, once eggs and sperm can be manufactured (probably to order, to boot), and a human or mechanical surrogate system is in place, what need have we to consider reproduction in our interpersonal social order at all? The system of marriage will become purely about how people make each other feel and an economic arrangement to share living expenses (including baby-rearing, although since the default family model is child-support, this is not an essential consideration except for the man).

This is on the cusp of literally manufacturing people.

The idea that children are a natural (and indeed, the ultimate) outcome of marriage will be obsolete, and we’ll see the type of society once only written about in science-fiction, where “old fashioned” people have children the “old fashioned” way, and families are intensely regulated.

A new company Poachable is anonymizing applicants and matching them up with employers.

Two quick reactions:

1) This is probably a better service than Monster, Careerbuilder, etc. It appears that the services provides an employment score to employers that rates applicants on the back end for suitability in jobs, which employers can then sort through. Therefore this removes a large part of the manual sorting that HR reps have to do through mostly poor resumes to find someone worthwhile. Data analysis will likely significantly help further find the exact applicant someone is looking for, and probably at a cheaper rate than traditional executive search firms. For the applicant, the anonymity is better than having resumes posted online where an employer could potentially find it – therefore, this minimizes transition time between jobs.

2) This sorting score (“employability score”) is or will be an effective way of helping employers see through the credential bubble currently in place – it should take into account quality of past employer, quality of education, work experience, use those for the IQ proxies that were outlawed by Griggs vs Duke. With word that Google and other employers are relying less on college credentials and more on results, this should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the credential bubble.

At the prestigious United States Military Academy, flagship commissioning source, we find an antiquated attitude toward the coming integration of women into combat arms.

As seen in the course catalog, in the freshman year, men take boxing and women take combatives, which is essentially grappling-lite geared toward self-defense.

boxing curriculum

Boxing is notoriously mandatory for men and “exposes participants to the coping strategies necessary to deal with a physical threat.” But women don’t have to take it, or if they do it is not integrated.

Why is this?

If a woman finds herself in a position to use these skills, it will almost certainly be against a man, so any applications should be trained accordingly.

The only reason I can ascertain is that the Academy thinks that women are less capable than men. Therefore, in light of the fact that West Point women have shown themselves to be ready to “take on any challenge,” and are “the only ones not complaining“, I call on Academy leadership to remove this artificial barrier to female success in the profession of arms by immediately and completely integrating boxing classes, and indeed making it mandatory for everyone.

The three day-1 female Ranger-School recycles have reported passed RAP week once again.

Some additional information came out from the last go-round:

Male students who had women in their patrols also failed at an unusually high rate, the sources said.

That is interesting, as there are multiple possible explanations for this, but none of them support the idea that women contribute equally, much less add, to the fight.

There is also some grumbling that the course may not be “fair” to women, that RIs didn’t want to pass women, although this man deserves some recognition for sticking to his guns:

Brig. Gen. James E. Rainey, the commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, disputed that any Ranger instructor maliciously intended to hold female students back.

“The women did worse than men at patrolling,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

Someone calling a spade a spade, without the usual platitudinous and condescending mewling about how impressed everyone was with the women’s effort, is unusual. He also said that

But he said Ranger School officials are looking at whether “subjective grading and objective grading” by the instructors contributed to the failure of women at the school.

“We don’t really have enough data to draw a conclusion on this,” Rainey said. “We have a pretty rigorous and detailed system that we use, and we’re learning a lot along the way.”

Yes, the objective grading of the women led to their failure at the school – they did worse than they had to in order to pass. The article also correctly notes that most guys who don’t pass feel that “they was robbed.” On the other hand, I failed a phase; I know I didn’t do very well on my initial patrols, and so was disappointed I had to re-do it, but understood why.

Anyway, we also now have enough information to look at the opportunity cost of putting women through Ranger school. Recall that these women went through pre-Ranger training courses, and some were even training for months specifically for this event, so they can be considered representative of the pool of women eligible for attending the school, and not the larger pool of much-less-capable women in the Army.

At the Pre-ranger courses, 19% of the women passed while 55% of the men did. There are slightly different numbers here (14% vs 45%), probably from different iterations of the pre-ranger course. One of the iterations had 1/17 women pass, although I’m willing to accept that class as an outlier.

What this tells us is that males have approximately 3x the success rate of women in pre-Ranger courses, and I’ll define this as the “Yield Ratio”:

(Male Completion %) : (Female completion %) = 55% : 19% = 2.9

That means that you’d have to send 3 women to get the effective yield of sending 1 man to the course. This is costly in terms of time spent. That is 6 slots (or 3 passed soldiers, based on a 50% male success rate, or 67% overall waste) that are wasted.

This is not an efficient use of time or resources even before looking at other effects on combat effectiveness, and we haven’t even gotten to the school or units or combat yet.

The first article linked also says that “historically, more than half” of the people who pass the pre-Ranger complete Ranger school. We might therefore reasonably expect that the pre-Ranger course is a decent (though not good – the course could obviously be improved) predictor of performance in the School. Was it?

No, it was not. With all 19 women failing to get past Darby on the first go-round, pre-Ranger is obviously not a good predictor of performance for women. For yield-ratio math, this creates some divide-by-zero errors, meaning that we’d have to send infinite numbers of women to get an actual graduate. This is obviously uneconomical.

With Ranger School graduation rates somewhere in the 45% range overall (depending on which source you read – some say 30%, some say 50%), the yield ratio, charitably assuming that all 3/19 original women now pass the Day-1 recycle, is

45% / 19% = 2.9

Very similar to the pre-ranger yield.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Looking at the yield ratios for the pipeline (Pre-Ranger->Ranger School,, and assuming the remaining 3 women pass the school, and are not counted as new candidates) we find that the effects are multiplicative:

ranger yield ratio

Assuming the pass rates mentioned above for each step, and starting numbers of each sex at 100, the yield ratio  becomes 8.1x. If only 2 women pass, the ratio is 12.4x. If one woman passes, the ratio is 24.6x. At a minimum, though, we have to send 8x the women through the course as men to get a Ranger-qualified soldier, which represents 87% waste in the process.

This is somewhat academic; the actual ratios may vary, but they are illustrative of the totally idiotic decision to do this when the outcomes are thoroughly predictable. We don’t know exactly how much of a waste this is, but we know it’s a “profoundly costly”  waste of resources that could be used for smoking ISIS. How many slots at the so-far-unmodified school will the Army waste in its pursuit to find find that one special Ranger?

It is also illustrative of the fact that the Army will engage in whatever idiocy its political masters tell it to do in keeping with the prevailing political fashions of the day, for the Feels of the feminist careerists shrikes whose ultimate goal is the destruction of any bastion of masculinity rather than winning wars.

Ranger school gets the headlines; this is the reality.



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