The women in military combat ban has been lifted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The decision by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women in military combat roles when assigned to smaller units. This decision will allow women to apply for jobs in front-line position and elite commando units.
According to ABC, “in February 2012 the Defense Department opened up 14,500 positions to women that had previously been limited to men and lifted a rule that prohibited women from living with combat units. Panetta also directed the services to examine ways to open more combat roles to women.” Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any combat positions must remain closed to women.
A senior military official spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press since Panetta’s decision was not supposed to be announced until Thursday:
“The services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. Some jobs may open as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force, may take longer.”
According to USA Today, Pentagon records show that women make up 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel who currently serve in a number of combat positions including piloting warplanes or serving on ships in combat areas. Since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, almost 290,000 women have served in those combat zones out of a total of almost 2.5 million.
The necessities of war have put women in combat roles ever since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. These wars are guerrilla wars where the enemy forces can come from anywhere, thus it’s impossible to keep women out of combat situations entirely. Some Americans feel that women should not be active in theaters of war where we face Islamic terrorists because of the possibility of rape. Others claim that women do not have the physical strength and stamina to meet the elite military standards. Some experts point out that having women in mostly all-male units will create inter-relational conflicts.
What do you think about women in military combat roles?