Multiple sources report that on Thursday, December 3rd, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the US military will open all combat jobs to women. From The Wall Street Journal:
"This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before," Mr. Carter said.
He spelled out the implications of his decision: "They'll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They'll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men."
[...] The practical effect of the announcement is to open up the 10% of positions that still remain closed to women--nearly 220,000 jobs--in infantry, reconnaissance and special operations units.
[Much more after the break.]
ABC News brings us some words from combat veteran and US congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (link again):
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in the 2003-2011 Iraq war, welcomed the decision.
"I didn't lose my legs in a bar fight -- of course women can serve in combat," said Duckworth, whose helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. "This decision is long overdue."
The Kurdish militia is another option for women who want to fight. Fox News earlier this year wrote about one such woman, Gill Rosenberg:
A Canadian-born Israeli woman who joined a Kurdish militia to fight against the Islamic State group said that after a stint in prison, she felt compelled to do something positive with her life and battle against the "genocide" unfolding in Syria and Iraq.
Gill Rosenberg, 31, was among the first female volunteers to fight in the Syrian civil war.
Vice brings us a story about another woman determined to fight ISIS, model Hanna Bohman:
As thousands of Syrian refugees flee the country, escaping Bashar al-Assad's barrel bombs and the barbarism of ISIS, one woman from Canada has headed to the war zone for a second time.
Hanna Bohman, aka Tiger Sun, joined the women's militia army of the People's Defence Unit, known as the YPJ in the Kurdish region of Syria (Rojava) following a near-fatal motorbike accident last year.
Also see NPR's coverage: Pentagon Says Women Can Now Serve In Front-Line Ground Combat Positions.
provided they can meet the physical requirements why couldn't they prove excellent soldiers?
In the military the physical requirements for men and women are different. Women are graded on an entirely different scale than men on a PT test. I wasn't combat arms (in training), so my unit was about half female. Of the 20ish women in my platoon, I think one may have been able to pass the male requirements. And for us it was just a test, there were no real world repercussions for the physical limitations aside from issues carting your toolbox (which some women struggled to do). I recall the quote of taking 5 people to keep 1 soldier fighting in the military - I think that's out of date and probably a lot higher now. There are plenty of opportunities to be an essential soldier which doesn't involve front line combat.
I'm not involved any more so I really don't care, but the reality of combat is that your weakest link is the highest liability of getting you killed. Some women I wouldn't have a problem fighting beside, but most I would. I certainly wouldn't welcome a whole batch graded on a lower scale. If women want to fight, then they can pass the male PT test.
The men also have a different scale than other men. It varies by age. So are your older soldiers (who can do less pushups) the weakest link in your platoon? Rhetorical, because they aren't. The young idiots who can max the PT test are the weakest link because they don't know jack shit about fighting (yet).
In my experience women can be just as strong as men only it takes a lot long to build up that strength. Men you can whip into shape in the matter of months. Women seem to take quite a bit longer, like several years longer. Unfortunately, most military terms are only a few years (or fortunately if you want out) so by the time a woman is really kick-ass strong she's ending her enlistment term. Weight is also a huge issue. A 140lb soldier will probably never beat 180lb soldier in terms of strength. Women have a lot of society pressures about their weight and looks that prevents them from putting on another 30 pounds of muscle. That is a life-long thing too. Bones and tendons don't adapt quickly. People entering the US Army already at a higher weight (even if it is distributed poorly) have a leg up on someone who joins at sub-150 pounds.
The men also have a different scale than other men. It varies by age. So are your older soldiers (who can do less pushups) the weakest link in your platoon? Rhetorical, because they aren't.
Actually yes. An older guy who can't carry his shit is a liability. If that's what has to be done, that's just a simple reality. If a woman can pass by male standards, that's when the dialog should start, but that's not what's happening here today. They physical aspect was on the bottom of my list of concerns as far as the weakest link goes, but it was a concern.
Never did i mention an older guy who can't carry his shit. I said that the physical fitness tests also vary by age for men. So a younger man has to do more to pass than an older man. Both still pass the test. I don't know where your linkest link stuff is coming from but the PT test is a shit indicator who for will get you killed in combat. It only shows a soldier's ability to do physical labor for a short period of time.
So given two soldiers, identical in every way except one is physically stronger, you don't think the stronger one is an asset?
Don't go all spherical cow on me. Of course the stronger one is better given everything else is equal. Is the weaker one the "weakest link" leading to the death of the stronger one? Rhetorical (again, sorry), no. The stronger soldier is made even stronger by having a weaker soldier watch his/her back. If you keep removing the weakest soldier from any group then you'll eventually end up with an army of one : P
no, the one with more endurance and mental fortitude is the bigger asset. brute, physical strength means little when it comes to doing military stuff.