Fox News reports
Women in all branches of the military soon will have unprecedented opportunities to serve on the front lines of the nation’s wars.
Leon Panetta, in one of his last acts as President Obama’s defense secretary, is preparing to announce the policy change, which would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday.
The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.
“This policy change will initiate a process whereby the services will develop plans to implement this decision, which was made by the secretary of defense upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” a senior defense official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
Some front-line military roles may open to women 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.
A defense official told the Associated Press that the military chiefs must report back to Panetta with their initial implementation plans by May 15. The announcement on Panetta’s decision is not expected until Thursday, so the official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Panetta’s move expands the Pentagon’s action nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. This decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women.
Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., said he supports Panetta’s decision.
“The fact is that American women are already serving in harm’s way today all over the world and in every branch of our armed forces,” he said in a statement. “Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, and our nation owes them a deep debt of gratitude.”
In recent years the necessities of war propelled women into jobs as medics, military police and intelligence officers that were sometimes attached — but not formally assigned — to units on the front lines.
Women comprise 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel.
Are the physical requirements the same for men and women in Boot Camp? Last June, The Washington Times told us that
To graduate from boot camp, soldiers must perform 35 pushups and 47 situps and run two miles in at least 16 minutes and 36 seconds — but that’s only for male soldiers.
Female troops are required to do 13 pushups and 43 situps and run two miles in 19 minutes and 42 seconds.
As the Army weighs integrating women into armor and infantry combat positions, the command in charge of soldier training is looking at requiring women to meet the same physical goals as men.
If wartime studies over the past decade are a guide, the Army can expect an increase in injuries and attrition among female soldiers as they seek to match men in strength and endurance.
The Pentagon bans women from direct combat roles, but this year opened 14,000 support jobs that can put female soldiers closer to the front lines on battlefields.
The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is evaluating whether direct combat units should be open to women, and Army officials have talked of making a decision before the November elections.
The Washington Times asked the training command whether it plans to require women to meet the same physical standards as men if female soldiers begin infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga. The command basically said yes.
“In preparation for this potential future decision, TRADOC is starting the long-term process of gathering data to provide the Army decision-makers the information they need to determine the way forward,” the command stated. “That said, an example we currently have would be the Sapper Leader Course, where both female and male soldiers attend. The standards throughout the course are the same for all soldiers who attend.”
The Times earlier this month published a two-part series about two female officers who recently completed the 28-day Sapper combat engineering course.
Since June 2010, women, who make up 2.5 percent of Sapper students, have a graduation rate of 60 percent, compared with 52 percent for men, according to the training command.
The Army’s Ranger School, a 61-day combat leadership course, is still off-limits to female troops. (Ranger School is separate from the 75th Ranger Regiment, the combat special operations unit whose members are classified as Rangers.)
If women were to enter the all-male Ranger School — an option being weighed — they would have to meet physical standards more rigorous than those for men in boot camp.
Would-be Rangers must be able to do at least 49 pushups and 59 situps, run five miles in less than 40 minutes and do six pullups from a dead hang.
Ranger students then face a series of other tests, such as balancing on a beam, crawling across a rope and then dropping 30 feet into water.
The Army’s training command operates Ranger School as a skills-building exercise, and almost all students come from some branch of combat arms. Graduates get to wear a Ranger badge on their uniforms.
At a news conference in May, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno mentioned Ranger School as a possibility to make female soldiers “successful.”
Personally, I am against this. Not because I am a Male Chauvinist Pig (yay, Pigs …soooey!). Nor is it because I think women are inferior to men. Some of the smartest, most capable people I’ve known in my life, were and are women.
My Southern “rearing” as a Christian Gentlemen causes the hackles on the back of my neck to stand straight up when I think about it.
Men and women are different. We are physically different. (Thank you, Lord) We are psychologically different. (I have the gray hair to prove it.) And, we are emotionally different. (Men are from Bass Pro. Women are from Kohl’s.)
Women are blessed by God. They are the foundation of the human race. Each and every one of us came out of a woman.
That’s not to say women can’t serve. They are serving our country honorably right now, in every branch of service.
However, intentionally sending them to the Front Lines, where they can be killed or captured, raped, and tortured, just to make a political point, is insensitive and just plain stupid.
It will weaken our Armed Forces.
And, perhaps, that is what this Administration, which does not believe in American Exceptionalism, wants to do.