Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Defense chief Panetta to clear women for combat roles

Posted by   + Show Post

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to clear the way for women to serve in many combat positions in the U.S. armed forces, a senior defense official told NBC News on Wednesday afternoon.


The Pentagon chief will announce on Thursday that he is eliminating the direct ground combat exclusion — the Department of Defense policy that excluded women from assignment to units below the brigade level if the unit would be engaged in direct combat.

This will allow women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at the battalion level, opening approximately 237,000 individual jobs to women across service branches, including 5,000 positions for female Marines in ground combat elements.

"I support it. It reflects the reality of 21st century military operations," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in anticipation of the announcement. 

"We are moving in the direction of women as infantry soldiers," one senior defense official said. 

Longstanding opponents of lifting the ban on women in combat lambasted the move as a show of "political correctness."

"The point of the military is to protect our country," said Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, a conservative lobbying group. "Anything that distracts from that is detrimental. Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness. While this decision is not unexpected from this administration, it is still disappointing."

Panetta, who is expected to leave his position as Defense Secretary in February, will call on the military services to study whether it is possible to open all jobs to women, and the services must come back with their individual plans and recommendations by May 15, a senior defense official said.  He will call for all changes to be in place, and women serving in the new roles by Jan. 1, 2016. 

But a senior defense official who spoke to NBC News said they expect exceptions to remain. Elite Special Operations positions in Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, and Delta Force were likely to remain closed to women, the official said, while the Army is likely to open up jobs for female pilots in the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. 

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called the decision "historic."

"In fact, it's important to remember that in recent wars that lacked any true front lines, thousands of women already spent their days in combat situations serving side-by-side with their fellow male servicemembers," said Murray, who heads the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

In November, a group of women in the military and the non-profit American Civil Liberties Union sued the Pentagon over the policy of excluding women from combat roles. Their complaint argued that they were already serving in combat roles, but not getting recognized for it.

So far, 152 women have died while deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and at least 958 have been wounded in action. 

"This is really the implementation of a policy that has been a reality for women for years," one senior defense official said.

According to the most recent Defense numbers, there are 1.4 million active duty members of the military, and nearly 15 percent of them are women. 

This new military-wide rule — distinct from a law — will replace the 1994 policy memo barring women in combat roles, which was signed by then-Secretary Les Aspin.

NBC News correspondent Kelly O'Donnell and NBC staff writer Kari Huus and The Associated Press contributed to this report

by on Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:40 PM
Replies (21-29):
radioheid
by Libertarian on Jan. 25, 2013 at 2:31 AM
1 mom liked this
Clearly *you* wouldn't be a prime candidate for a combat role. That doesn't mean others aren't capable. I bench-pressed 140 while I was on active duty, and dead-lifted over 200 lbs...dragging a 200 lb man to cover wouldn't have been an exceptional feat for me, nor would hauling 40 lbs of gear over a long distance. Periods are just a silly issue. There is a wide variety of feminine products on the market, as well as baby wipes, which we all kept on tap and used to clean up with anyway. And I dont know whether men would be derelict in their duties to protect the very few women in the unit. Maybe they would, or maybe their attitudes would change and some would start to respect women as soldiers. I do not believe men have any sort of "instinct" to protect women, though I'm sure there is anecdotal evidence and dubious "studies" available to the contrary. Some have been conditioned to do so, and some prefer to as a personal preference, for whatever reason. Hell, even acts of bravery and heroism are learned behavior

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 


My question has always been how do women maintain good hygiene when they are on their periods and out in conditions like this without access to showers? I only did 2 nights out in the field in basic training and I felt disgusting when we returned to base.


I also wonder how much a tiny woman can do to pull her own weight or others if need be? Our 12 mile hike with rucksack and rifle was difficult for me. Can you lift or drag a 200lb man out of the line of fire if need be? I know I couldn't then nor could I now.


I wonder about the psychology and how our brains are wired. In general, would a man feel the need to automatically protect a female soldier over a commanding officer? Are men naturally hard wired to protect a female?


I would also worry about rape. While it does happen to men, I wonder if the occurrences are higher with women or will be higher.  


Quoting radioheid:


 I disagree, with evidence to support my argument.


I served in a reconnaissance unit in a combat zone. There were exactly 2 women assigned to the unit, myself included. We were separated by a mile of desert from all other units, with the exception of security patrols. This would be a prime opportunity for that "I just cant help myself" rape, yet the worst thing I dealt with was a little sexual inuendo. It was far worse OFF duty, in a much more mixed-gender environment (though still 35-1 male-to-female ratio). ON duty, sex just wasn't really at the front of anyone's minds, I guess. And we worked 12-16 hour shifts, in near isolation. It was hot and dirty, there was sand, spiders and scorpions everywhere, and people just weren't trying to fuck, either as an act of pleasure, or an act of violence.


Men are just as likely to rape men as they are women as an act of violence in war.


As far as women becoming deliberate targets---you've clearly never served in a military unit in a forward location. You've got to be close enough to see the whites of a person's eyes before you can tell what gender they are in uniform, unless there's a mustache.



With an armored vest, backpack and rifle, there is absolutely no way you'd be able to discern my gender, and it is pretty difficult to tell even in this picture.


Quoting gammie:


I disagree with this new policy. Woman are in more danger in combat, from the enemy and her own troops from rape.


Like it or not woman are a distraction.


 


 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
piratepixie
by Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 3:14 AM
1 mom liked this
Would they be giving the woman the choice as to if she wants to be in direct combat or are they just going to drop them in like they are nothing but useable assets. Because while I know and understand that there are women in the military that do want to be in more active roles, there are some that don't for what ever reasons. While this would open the door to many I also fear that it may also force others into roles they do not want. I would worry about couples with children and what could happen say that both happen to be sent to combat and killed.... I don't know how I would feel to hear about a woman being killed and then to find out she had a family... It would be like my sister who is military getting sent out somewhere and killed....
Woodbabe
by Woodie on Jan. 25, 2013 at 7:44 AM

I haven't paid enough attention to the arguments for both sides to form a real opinion yet, but my husband (23 year Marine) was very clear that he didn't like the idea one bit. His one rant was "Do we want to be FAIR or do we want to WIN?" I didn't stick around to hear the rest lol

PTmomma3
by Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:22 AM
I find it amazing that in 2013 women are still at fault for every problem in the world. The main 2 arguments I'm hearing are 1) the men will love the women too much, putting lives at risk, and 2) the men will think so little of them they'll be raped. Ironically neither one of those 2 things are a women's fault, and are how men decide they're going to react by a woman's presence. Will we ever live in a world where men are held responsible for their actions?
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
katy_kay08
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM
1 mom liked this

yes, of course...we need to shield men from women so they don't rape those pesky women that don't know their proper place in this world.  

gammie
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM


This isn't a joke some men that join the militarty join so they can go and do things they can't do here. They are rapest, killers, and thieves. 

Woman are in danger and they will not be protected the their leaders!

why don't you join ?

Quoting katy_kay08:

yes, of course...we need to shield men from women so they don't rape those pesky women that don't know their proper place in this world.  



pittawadda
by Bronze Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM
1 mom liked this
To me I am on the fence. And it isn't even a rape issue.
I served my time in and did a lot.
I do agree that a woman needs to meet a high standard to get I to this job.
The issues that I personally foresee arising aren't rape or crazy hormones or junk like that. Women are professionals. I'm not sure how men in this field can psychologically handle a woman in their unit.
I agree it is time but how to go about it I don't know.
I had to do a lot of "prove myself" and later was told that they were happy I was more like an actual sister to them.
I wonder in combat how would a man react if a woman got injury? Would it be the same? Just questions. It's just thoughts of mine.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM
1 mom liked this

 Oh I agree 100% that I would not be a good candidate for a combat role.  The problems and issues I saw in basic in the only unit with a 50% male/female ratio(something new they were trying out) is that the women, in general, held the men back. The platoon, as a whole, could not do all that they were capable of because there were women in the platoon. The rules were different than other more traditional platoons. The platoon, as a whole, were not able to be dropped for more than 10 push ups at a time. People called our platoon a "pansy" platoon because the guys got off so easy for PT because there were women there that were not physically capable of doing what a man could. Women are also held to different PT standards than men. If we want our strongest and most capable on the front lines for combat duty they need to be able to do Everything their male counterparts can do. I fully understand that there ARE women that can do this, but this is not typical of most women in the military. I, personally, was able to run the 2 mile in the male soldiers time period, but could not meet the push-ups or sit-ups required for the males.  

 It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out IRL. I guess we will find out when the news stories start trickling in. I hope those women kick ass and take names.

Quoting radioheid:

Clearly *you* wouldn't be a prime candidate for a combat role. That doesn't mean others aren't capable. I bench-pressed 140 while I was on active duty, and dead-lifted over 200 lbs...dragging a 200 lb man to cover wouldn't have been an exceptional feat for me, nor would hauling 40 lbs of gear over a long distance. Periods are just a silly issue. There is a wide variety of feminine products on the market, as well as baby wipes, which we all kept on tap and used to clean up with anyway. And I dont know whether men would be derelict in their duties to protect the very few women in the unit. Maybe they would, or maybe their attitudes would change and some would start to respect women as soldiers. I do not believe men have any sort of "instinct" to protect women, though I'm sure there is anecdotal evidence and dubious "studies" available to the contrary. Some have been conditioned to do so, and some prefer to as a personal preference, for whatever reason. Hell, even acts of bravery and heroism are learned behavior

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 


My question has always been how do women maintain good hygiene when they are on their periods and out in conditions like this without access to showers? I only did 2 nights out in the field in basic training and I felt disgusting when we returned to base.


I also wonder how much a tiny woman can do to pull her own weight or others if need be? Our 12 mile hike with rucksack and rifle was difficult for me. Can you lift or drag a 200lb man out of the line of fire if need be? I know I couldn't then nor could I now.


I wonder about the psychology and how our brains are wired. In general, would a man feel the need to automatically protect a female soldier over a commanding officer? Are men naturally hard wired to protect a female?


I would also worry about rape. While it does happen to men, I wonder if the occurrences are higher with women or will be higher.  


Quoting radioheid:


 I disagree, with evidence to support my argument.


I served in a reconnaissance unit in a combat zone. There were exactly 2 women assigned to the unit, myself included. We were separated by a mile of desert from all other units, with the exception of security patrols. This would be a prime opportunity for that "I just cant help myself" rape, yet the worst thing I dealt with was a little sexual inuendo. It was far worse OFF duty, in a much more mixed-gender environment (though still 35-1 male-to-female ratio). ON duty, sex just wasn't really at the front of anyone's minds, I guess. And we worked 12-16 hour shifts, in near isolation. It was hot and dirty, there was sand, spiders and scorpions everywhere, and people just weren't trying to fuck, either as an act of pleasure, or an act of violence.


Men are just as likely to rape men as they are women as an act of violence in war.


As far as women becoming deliberate targets---you've clearly never served in a military unit in a forward location. You've got to be close enough to see the whites of a person's eyes before you can tell what gender they are in uniform, unless there's a mustache.



With an armored vest, backpack and rifle, there is absolutely no way you'd be able to discern my gender, and it is pretty difficult to tell even in this picture.


TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:04 AM

 

Quoting pittawadda:

To me I am on the fence. And it isn't even a rape issue.
I served my time in and did a lot.
I do agree that a woman needs to meet a high standard to get I to this job.
The issues that I personally foresee arising aren't rape or crazy hormones or junk like that. Women are professionals. I'm not sure how men in this field can psychologically handle a woman in their unit.
I agree it is time but how to go about it I don't know.
I had to do a lot of "prove myself" and later was told that they were happy I was more like an actual sister to them.
I wonder in combat how would a man react if a woman got injury? Would it be the same? Just questions. It's just thoughts of mine.

  These were my questions also. My sister was in the army for 4 yrs and most of the soldiers in her unit looked at her like a little sis. I, too, wonder about the relationships between males and females and how they differ and how that would come into play in critical moments.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)



Featured