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posted by martyb on Friday December 04 2015, @03:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the anything-you-can-do... dept.

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.

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  • (Score: 1) by donkeyhotay on Friday December 04 2015, @08:17PM

    by donkeyhotay (2540) on Friday December 04 2015, @08:17PM (#271923)

    I guess how well this works will depend on the attitudes of the rank and file servicemen. In my day (it's been over 20 years since I was in the military), it would not have worked. Even in non-combat roles, women were often resented when I was in the Navy. A sailor will have many different assignments in the course of his or her career and these are split up between sea duty and shore duty. Sea duty, with its many deployments, is difficult and places a burden on people who are married and have families. For a lot of job specialties, the shore duty billets are highly prized. Unfortunately, pregnant women were given priority for shore duty, whether they were due to receive it or not. This often meant that some men had to serve yet another sea duty assignment in order to fill a billet that should have gone to a woman. It is an inequitable situation. The other problem was that women have a, shall we say, "particular" advantage when it comes to getting special treatment from their superiors.

    It's not the job performance aspect which is the issue. The dynamic of small unit combat is a tried and true method which has worked effectively for thousands of years. Tossing women into that dynamic could create social and political disruption that could undermine a system that we know works. We appear to be on the brink of world war three. Is this really a good time to experiment?

  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday December 04 2015, @08:57PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @08:57PM (#271945)

    Experimenting is what has made the US Army so good (historically). Not afraid to try new things, analyse those things, and then make a correction. When you were in the army 20 years ago, racism was probably a hot topic thing. In my time it was mostly about homo/heterosexuality. Now it will be about genders.

    Doing nothing because change could yield uncertain outcomes is something foreign armies do. There have already been a lot of pilot programs that show mixed units under-perform male units by a decent amount in most areas. That women in combat roles are more likely to receive injuries during training than their male counterparts. I could go on but the end result is women can do the job. Now they just have to figure out how to improve the numbers. May take decades to improve the culture (like racism and homophobia).

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