News / USA

Pentagon to Allow Women in Key Combat Roles by 2016

US Military Unveils Plans to Admit Women to Combat Positionsi
X
June 19, 2013 12:27 PM
U.S. women will soon be able to serve in many combat positions previously reserved for men. Military officials announced plans Tuesday to open thousands of combat jobs to women by 2016. Zlatica Hoke reports.
US Military Unveils Plans to Admit Women to Combat Positions
Luis Ramirez
The U.S. military says that within the next three years, it will put women in key combat roles from which they were previously excluded.  

American women have been serving in combat roles and hundreds have been killed on the front lines for years, but they have been excluded from key positions in areas including Special Operations and infantry.

In January, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced changes to regulations banning women from 237,000 positions.   

On Tuesday, officials from all four branches of the U.S. military gathered at the Pentagon to announce a timeline for those changes.  The Marines already have come up with new gender-neutral physical tests, and by the middle of 2015, the Army will have new standards that will allow women to be part of its elite Ranger regiment.

U.S. Army Major General Bennet Sacolick was among those making the announcement.  He said it is the start of a new era, and he referred to the action film series depicting a U.S. war hero who relies much on his brute strength.

“We're looking for smart, qualified operators.  You know, there's a new dynamic.  The days of Rambo are over.  We're looking for young men that can speak and learn a foreign language and understand culture, that can work with indigenous populations and culturally tuned manners.  The defining characteristic of our operators [is] intellect," said Sacolick.

The changes have prompted questions of whether changing standards will diminish military readiness. Among their concerns, critics say having women in tight-knit, high-stress situations will create privacy issues and hurt unit cohesiveness.

Officials on Tuesday said they are fine-tuning their plans before beginning the implementation and looking at models of other countries such as Israel and Canada, which have successfully integrated women into their militaries.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said he is confident the changes will not diminish the U.S. military's effectiveness.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark T
June 19, 2013 12:32 PM
to begin with, I am a veteran of 10 years in two Branches of Service (Air Force and Marine Corps) and am proud of this country and my Service to it. I have served alongside women in many capacities and have no issues with it. But it breaks my heart to know that so many women have been killed in combat, where I do not believe they should be involved. Is our respect for women in this country so low that we now have no regrets sending them in as cannon fodder onto a battlefield? I know war is messy and indiscriminate, having seen it firsthand, and I have no doubts that women can do ANY job as well as a man can, but do we HAVE to expose them to the same horrid and terrible things now just to prove they can...?

Can a man bear children? Can a man ensure the continuance of life? A woman can, and it is that, and mainly that fact, that we should protect and cherish. I am truly heartbroken. Shame on us. Other countries may have successfully integrated women into combat roles (I believe Canada was mentioned in the article), but are Canadian women serving in front line capacities around the world? Are Canadian women exposed to life-ending dangers at this moment in a foreign war? Just because other countries have done this, does not mean we Americans have to.

It has been proved, in past wars (notable WWII) casualty rates among women in combat roles were higher than in units that did not have women in combat positions. The Pentagon is letting this country down with this action, they are not protecting our Nation as they should be if they are allowing women to die alongside men in our Unpleasant Entanglements abroad.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs