Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today that women would be allowed to serve in combat roles in the military.
According to The Associated Press, this move opens up 230,000 battlefront posts – many in Army and Marine infantry units. It will be up military service chiefs to recommend and defend whether women should be excluded from more demanding or deadly positions such as Seals or Delta Force.
Currently women could fly the helicopter supporting a infantry battalion or provide medical aid to that battalion but couldn’t actually serve as an infantryman.
Right now women “comprise about 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel. More than 280,000 women have been sent to Iraq, Afghanistan or to jobs in neighboring nations in support of the wars. Of the more than 6,600 U.S. service members who have been killed, 152 have been women.,” according The AP.
“Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people,” Panetta said at a Pentagon ceremony in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.
“Every person in today’s military has made a solemn commitment to fight and, if necessary, to die, for our nation’s defense,” he said. “We owe it to them to allow them to pursue every avenue of military service for which they are fully prepared and qualified. Their career success and their specific opportunities should be based solely on their ability to successfully carry out an assigned mission. Everyone deserves that chance….”
“The historic change, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.”
“The change will not take place overnight: Service chiefs will have to develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions, a senior military official said. Some jobs may open as soon as this year, while assessments for others, such as special operations forces, may take longer. The services will have until January 2016 to make a case to that some positions should remain closed to women….”
“Objections were few. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, called the move “another social experiment” that will place unnecessary burdens on military commanders.”
“While their focus must remain on winning the battles and protecting their troops, they will now have the distraction of having to provide some separation of the genders during fast-moving and deadly situations,” said Boykin, a retired Army lieutenant general. He noted that small units often are in sustained combat for extended periods of time under primal living conditions with no privacy.”
So I am very interested in women serving in the military and have always been fascinated by the Israeli Army, in which male and female service is compulsory.
“In Israel, women serve in combat roles from infantry to the air force.”
“At the end of 2012, Lt. T, the first female religious pilot-navigator to graduate from the IAF’s flight school, received her wings at the Hatzerim airbase.”
“This past year, 1,728 religious girls, roughly a quarter of the graduating class of national religious girls’ schools, joined the IDF.”
“Last September a deadly shootout along Israel’s border with Egypt shined a spotlight on the country’s only mixed female and male combat unit. The Caracal battalion’s response to the terrorist attack — which left three gunmen dead, including one whom Israeli officials said was killed by a female soldier — marked a major test for the unit.”
“Women were barred from field units until 2000, the year Caracal was introduced as a way to ease females into combat duty. The unit was positioned in areas along Israel’s borders with Jordan and Egypt. For years, the territory was calm, largely because Israel has peace deals with both neighbors. Soldiers who were there mostly worked to prevent drug and weapons’ smuggling and while they were trained to neutralize an armed threat, they rarely faced one.”
So here are my questions/thoughts:
“Reported sexual assaults at the nation’s three military academies jumped by 23 percent overall this year, but the data signaled a continued reluctance by victims to seek criminal investigations.”
“According to a report obtained by The Associated Press, the number of assaults rose from 65 in the 2011 academic year to 80 in 2012. However, nearly half the assaults involved victims who sought confidential medical or other care and did not trigger an investigation. There were 41 assaults reported in 2010.”
“Reported sexual assaults have climbed steadily since the 2009 academic year. The Defense Department has urged the academies to take steps to encourage cadets and midshipmen at the academies to report sexual harassment and assaults in order to get care to everyone and hold aggressors accountable. The number of assaults reported by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., increased, while reports at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., declined.”
I think if women want that as a career then it all should be open to them but I also think women have to be able to pass the physical requirements for the jobs. I don’t think the requirements should be changed for them.
I would worry much more about mothers accepting combat roles versus just women. Although I guess that is up to her family? Could they be compelled to take a combat role or is that just open to them?
I would personally be horrible in a combat role but I think I would do well in a nursing or food environment. Overall I am good at taking care of people and horrible at fighting but that is just me.
So what do you think?