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Jun-29-2011 00:03printcomments

Time to Remove Prohibitions on Women In Combat Jobs

It has been noted that the military is too male and too white.

Female soldier in Afghanistan
Female U.S. Army soldier in Afghanistan being briefed for an early morning mission. Salem-News.com photo by Tim King

(SAN FRANCISCO) - Despite the Department of Defense's (DoD) official prohibition on women in combat roles, 111 female soldiers have died in Iraq and 28 have died in Afghanistan. Sixty percent of these deaths were due to hostile acts.

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About 200,000 women have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Women make up 14.6 percent of active duty military. Women attack insurgents with strike fighters and helicopter gunships, machine guns and mortars, ride shotgun on convoys through IED (improvised explosive device) terrain and walk combat patrols with the infantry.

Actually, DoD and the military services have difficulty defining what it is that women cannot volunteer to do. What makes the Iraq and Afghanistan "hostilities" different from other hostilities is that there are no clear front lines. Therefore, the line between a combat job and a support job is oftentimes blurred. The question that must be asked, why shouldn't a woman be assigned a combat job if she is qualified and properly trained?

As with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" debate, opponents of allowing women to choose a combat job argue that the presence of women in small units that must operate for extended periods under fire, would be disruptive, or women would break the unit's tight cohesion and cripple its fighting spirit. But research has not borne out the myths that women are too weak for combat, can harm a unit’s cohesion, or are more prone to mental health disorders than men in combat.

Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC) <http://mldc.whs.mil task of evaluating and assessing policies that provide opportunities for promotion and advancement of minority members of the armed forces, including women in combat roles.  On March 15, 2011, the MLDC  recommended that the prohibition on women serving in combat roles be removed.  Although,  Congress repealed the combat exclusion laws in the January 1994 National Defense Authorization the law still requires the services to submit proposed changes to existing assignment policy to Congress for review.

The MDLC noted that the military is too male and too white.

As for women in combat roles, the MLDC http://mldc.whs.mil/download/documents/Final%20Report/MLDC_Executive_Summary.pdfrecommended that:


"Recommendation 9—
DoD and the Services should eliminate the “combat exclusion policies” for women, including the removal of barriers and inconsistencies, to create a level playing field for all qualified servicemembers. The Commission recommends a time-phased approach:
• a. Women in career fields/specialties currently open to them should be immediately able to be assigned to any unit that requires that career field/specialty, consistent with the current operational environment.
 b. DoD and the Services should take deliberate steps in a phased approach to open additional career fields and units involved in “direct ground combat” to qualified women.
• c. DoD and the Services should report to Congress the process and timeline for removing barriers that inhibit women from achieving senior leadership positions."

The DoD is reviewing the MLDC's recommendations.

The U.S. Navy announced that women will be able to serve on submarines in 2012. Women already serve on Navy ships.

I note that New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Israel, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland allow women in combat roles.

Today, military service is voluntary. Both men and women who join the military should be able to choose a combat job. The criteria for selection to a combat job should not be based on a person's sex but whether the person is qualified, capable, competent, and able to perform the job. Nothing more, nothing less. When a woman is properly trained, she can be as tough as any man.

________________________________

Salem-News.com writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many Salem-News.com writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address stonere@earthlink.net


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Mike June 29, 2011 12:46 pm (Pacific time)

Any time standards are reduced to accomodate others who did not meet existing qualifications (regardless of what), the slide into mediocrity begins, and worsens over time. The evidence that this slide happens is well documented.


Anonymous June 29, 2011 10:57 am (Pacific time)

What a crack. Too white? It is very well know that African-Americans have faster promotions than white male/female. Go on a Military base today, I never seen so many African-Americans in my life. It's there choice and it is also known that a lot of young African-Americans don't want to join the Military, can't join because of some crime history or just to lazy to join. They rather stay home and live of my hard earned tax money. So, if nothing works anymore, lets get the race card out. This always helps and like every good liberal they go on a guilt trip and apologize for everything. And with women, hey if they can do the job, let them do it. I know women they have more balls than a man. Just have a good look at the woman from the IDF, great soldiers

Editor: Your low IQ is flying around like a red flag.  Black Americans were forced to serve in separate units until 1947; yet even under those conditions the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a B-17 on bomber escort duty.  You remind me why we have become what we are in America, a doomed flock of sheep.  You have a black heart mister, you should be fully ashamed of yourself but it is obvious you lack the mental capacity.   Racist creep.


gp June 29, 2011 9:15 am (Pacific time)

War is obsolete. We can not afford to continue to spend our national wealth killing others. Youth, men and women both are not expendable resources, our young people are our most precious resource. If not killed and maimed physically, all war vets are spiritually,mentally and emotionally scarred for life. In order to become the nation we want to become, we should be encouraging our young women and our young men to find a way to coexist peacefully with the world. As I do not condone Chippendale ooogling as a form of equality for women, but rather an ugly objectifying of the opposite sex, I don't find the militarization of young women to be an equalizing and positive step for young women.


Vic June 29, 2011 8:16 am (Pacific time)

I agree..women are just as capable of cold blooded murder and can be as soul-less as men.Think Dianne Downs or Lyndie England... Women are also just as capable of justifying their crimes against other human beings with excuses such as the Nuremburg defense.."only followed orders" and are also just as likely as men to be deceived and fooled into signing up to commit such acts. People such as Madeline Albright show us that women can also be just plain evil.


Anonymous June 29, 2011 8:08 am (Pacific time)

19,000 sexual assaults in the military in fiscal year per released pentagon papers. http://servicewomen.org/2011/03/pentagon-releases-2011-report-on-military-sexual-assault/

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