Not all combat jobs may be open to women


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of the U.S. military announced it is ending its policy of excluding women from combat and will quickly open combat jobs and direct combat units to female troops.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of the U.S. military announced it is ending its policy of excluding women from combat and will quickly open combat jobs and direct combat units to female troops. These services provide the opportunity for women to enter all fields, including infantry, tanks, artillery and other combat arms.

After Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey withdrew the ban, the Marines and the other military services have begun implementing the end of the combat ban for women.

Fact is women are already on the front lines overseas despite an official ban on combat. On CNN U.S., Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon back in Jan., “The time has come for our policies to recognize that reality.” “The fact is, they have become an integral part of our ability to perform our mission, and for more than a decade of war, they have demonstrated courage and skill and patriotism,” Panetta said.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said, some occupations might ultimately remain closed if only a small number qualify.

The Marines will not lower physical standards for certain specialties, Gen. James Amos told USA TODAY. “We can’t afford to lower standards,” he said. “We can’t make adjustments on what’s required on the battlefield. “That’s not why America has a Marine Corps,” he said.

Amos guaranteed opportunities opened by the Marine Corps would be offered without adjusting requirements. “We’ve got too much combat experience for me to even suggest lowering the standards,” Amos said. “So I’m not going to do it.”

According to CNN, in early January, the Army opened the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to women and begun recruiting female pilots and crew chiefs. The Navy has put its first female officers on submarines in the past year, and certain female ground troops have been attached to combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 800 women were wounded in those wars, and at least 130 have died.

Leaving the controversial question, is it a good idea to let women in combat? In breaking news on CNN with Anderson Cooper, Tammy Duckworth, a female U.S. veteran, says female troops in Iraq and Afghanistan proved women should have combat roles. Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and 36 year veteran of the U.S Army told CNN his opinion. “Allowing women to fill hundreds of thousands of combat roles from which they are currently excluded is a poor idea.“

A&T political science adjunct professor Derrick Smith was interviewed to find out his thoughts on women being associated with combat.

“Based on the information just shared with you how do you personally feel about women being able to be in combat now in 2013?”

Professor Smith replied, “Its long overdue, I use to serve in the military, 1985 to 1989 and I was quiet taken back at the discrimination I particularly saw against women. In particular with combat, I learned while I was in (the military) that there had been some studies done by Israeli military–IDF (Israel Defense Force) they found that in certain circumstances and in certain combat roles where we had excluded women–women actually excel beyond men.”

“For example, women fighter pilots–they did studies, which showed that because women have lower body mass from the waist up they are less likely to black-out. Women also have better manual dexterity than men and women also have a higher threshold for pain. So when you remove the social stigmas about protecting women…and look at the science, the science might suggest that there are certain combat roles that women are probably better suited for–the Israeli found that out that fighter pilot might be one of those areas. I think the way we’ve done it has been discriminatory and it’s all about the protecting the women,” said Professor Smith.

Professor Smith was also asked, “Why do you think it has taken so long for women to be able to join combat?”

He replied, “I think it has a lot to do with just the hang ups that men have when it comes to gender politics, sexuality and men tend to want to be protectionists–particularly in our culture. We want to protect our women and I think they are a little afraid what they might see in combat. “

It has been reported through CNN that the military services have until 2016 to determine whether any jobs or units should remain closed to women, all of which require the approval of the defense secretary.

  • Porcha Taylor, Contributor
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