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New Women in Combat rules...

Posted by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 5:42 AM
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APNewsBreak: Sources: New military roles for women

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the past decade women in the U.S. military have served, fought and died on the battlefields in Iraq andAfghanistan.

On Thursday, Pentagon rules will catch up a bit with reality, recommending to Congress that women be allowed to serve in morejobs closer to the front lines.

According to defense officials, the new rules are expected to continue the long-held prohibition that prevents women from serving as infantry, armor and special operations forces. But they will formally allow women to serve in other jobs at the battalion level, which until now had been considered too close to combat.

In reality, however, the necessity of war has already propelled women to the front lines — often as medics, military police orintelligence officers. So, while they couldn't be assigned as an infantryman in a battalion or company going out on patrol, they could fly the helicopter supporting the unit, or move in to provide medical aid if troops were injured.

The officials said the new rules will change that, and formally allow women to be assigned to a battalion and serve in jobs such as medics, intelligence, police or communications officers. The changes would have the greatest effect on the Army and Marine Corps, which ban women from more jobs than the Navy and Air Force do — largely because of the infantry positions.

Defense officials spoke about the report on condition of anonymity because it had not yet been publicly released.

There long has been opposition to putting women in combat, questioning whether they have the necessary strength and stamina, or whether their presence might hurt unit cohesion. There also have been suggestions that the American public would not tolerate large numbers of women coming home from war in body bags.

But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where battlefield lines are scattered and blurred and insurgents can be around every corner, have made it almost impossible to keep women clear of combat. Thousands have served in the two wars, and more than 150 have been killed.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, speaking from his home in Virginia, said he doesn't see how the new policy helps the national security of the country.

"This does not dismiss the sexual tension issues, nor does it dismiss the differences physiologically between men and women in terms of cardiovascular fitness," Maginnis said.

The Service Women's Action Network said its response was mixed.

"On the plus side, this is a huge step in the right direction," said Anu Bhagwati, former Marine Corps captain and executive director of the network. However she said it was "extremely disappointing" that the ban would continue on women becoming infantry.

"To continue such a ban is to ignore the talents and leadership that women bring to the military and it further penalizes servicewomen by denying them the opportunity for future promotions and assignments that are primarily given to personnel from combat arms specialties."

"It's time military leadership establish the same level playing field to qualified women to enter the infantry, Special Forces and other all-male units," she said.

The Pentagon report, which initially was due out last spring, comes nearly a year after an independent panel called for the military to lift its ban on women in combat. The Military Leadership Diversity Commission said the Pentagon should phase in additional career fields and units that women could be assigned to as long as they are qualified.

A 1994 combat exclusion policy bans women from being assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level. A brigade is roughly 3,500 troops, and is made up of battalions, which can be about 800 soldiers.

So while a woman serving as a communications or intelligence officer can be formally assigned to a brigade, she can't be assigned to the smaller battalion. The military has gotten around those rules by "attaching" women in those jobs to battalions, which meant they could do the work, but not get the credit for being in combat arms.

And since service in combat gives troops an advantage for promotions and job opportunities, it has been more difficult for women to move to the higher ranks.

While the new rules won't open up the Navy SEALS or the Army Delta Force to women, some defense officials have said the military may eventually be open to that also. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told North Carolina ROTC students in 2010 that at some point there would be careful steps in that direction.

Already, however, women are serving with special operations forces in support jobs such as intelligence analysts, legal specialists, builders and administration assistants.

And in a new program gaining popularity in Afghanistan, women are serving on so-called cultural support teams that go out with commando units. The women on the teams are used to do things that would be awkward or impossible for their male teammates, such as talk to or even frisk burqa-clad women.

                                  

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by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 5:42 AM
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Replies (1-10):
jealousymagnet
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:08 AM
14 moms liked this
Against it. I think it will do more harm than good.
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Soniam301
by Sonia on Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:26 AM
3 moms liked this
pretty much what jm wrote, but I have an old fashion view on the whole issue...

Quoting jealousymagnet:

Against it. I think it will do more harm than good.
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ceashell429
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:33 AM
7 moms liked this
I agree with it. As far as the sexual tension, this is something men and women in the civilian world have to deal with so I don't see it as any different. And I know a lot of women who are just as, if not more physically fit as men.

I think this will give our armed forces a tremendous growth. And boost opportunities.
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4ever-SJ
by Gold Member on Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:47 AM
Quoting jealousymagnet:

Against it. I think it will do more harm than good.



Agree.
beerebelly
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:56 AM

 

Quoting jealousymagnet:

Against it. I think it will do more harm than good.

 Agree.

SierraLynn
by Just Me on Feb. 9, 2012 at 7:58 AM
This.

Quoting jealousymagnet:

Against it. I think it will do more harm than good.
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shesliketx
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 7:59 AM
Yep.


Quoting jealousymagnet:

Against it. I think it will do more harm than good.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
ilayframe
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 8:03 AM
1 mom liked this
I'm on the fence...I think they need to be physically and mentally evaluated before holding a position closer to the front lines. I just think of Jessica Lynch issues.
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paganmom05
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 8:06 AM
40 moms liked this

Maybe I'm just too "feminist" but I don't think the ruling does enough. If men are too weak to deal with a woman next to him then that is his problem. Reality check WE ARE ALREADY fighting on the front lines, dying right next to the men. Wouldn't it be a better idea to TRAIN us to do just that so that we have a better chance of surviving? What is the difference between a female Corpsman attached to a Marine group and having a woman IN said group? They are in the same amount of danger, no scratch that, the medic is in MORE danger because we're not allowed to be armed, per the Geneva Conventions.

And "cardiovascular difference"? What freaking planet are they talking about? The women I know in the military are in VASTLY better shape than the men.

SierraLynn
by Just Me on Feb. 9, 2012 at 8:13 AM
18 moms liked this
It's not about a man being to weak to have a woman next to him. It's mens brains thinking that they needs to protect a woman next to them. It would be distracting from the mission. And women have been proven to act differently while in a firefighter. We tend to freeze up, even with the training.
It's not just because we have vaginas that we are not allowed in combat positions. It's because our phyisical and psychological make ups are different and that can hugely affect the mission at hand. And with the military its always mission first.


Quoting paganmom05:

Maybe I'm just too "feminist" but I don't think the ruling does enough. If men are too weak to deal with a woman next to him then that is his problem. Reality check WE ARE ALREADY fighting on the front lines, dying right next to the men. Wouldn't it be a better idea to TRAIN us to do just that so that we have a better chance of surviving? What is the difference between a female Corpsman attached to a Marine group and having a woman IN said group? They are in the same amount of danger, no scratch that, the medic is in MORE danger because we're not allowed to be armed, per the Geneva Conventions.

And "cardiovascular difference"? What freaking planet are they talking about? The women I know in the military are in VASTLY better shape than the men.

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