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News Desk: Military to Open Combat Positions to Women *Updated*

IN A long overdue move, the U.S. military will now open combat positions to women. Not all positions will be immediately gender neutral, but the changing of a culture has begun, even if the full implementation will take years.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the decision today.

Via CNN:

The U.S. military is ending its policy of excluding women from combat and will open combat jobs and direct combat units to female troops, CNN has learned. Multiple officials confirm to CNN that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the announcement tomorrow and notify Congress of the planned change in policy.

“We will eliminate the policy of ‘no women in units that are tasked with direct combat,’” a senior defense official says.

[...] “It will take awhile to work out the mechanics in some cases. We expect some jobs to open quickly, by the end of this year. Others, like Special Operations Forces and Infantry, may take longer,” a senior defense official explains. Panetta is setting the goal of January 2016 for all assessments to be complete and women integrated as much as possible.

This is another blow to the Republican right, who have fought hard to keep women out of combat positions.

This is about codifying actual duties and the careers of female soldiers in policy, which is why it’s getting headlines and rightfully so. Rep. Tammy Duckworth is but one public reminder that females have been in harm’s way for many years, with female soldiers serving in forward combat zones for a very long time.

This policy will include, most importantly, being able to advance to higher military rank and positions that require combat to be considered for them, advancing women’s opportunities and equality. It will eventually open up tens of thousands of jobs for women as well. It’s about intelligence work, too, which has been out of bounds for women in many instances of our Armed Forces as well.

It’s another act for women’s equality by the Obama administration.

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9 Responses to News Desk: Military to Open Combat Positions to Women *Updated*

  1. Joyce Arnold January 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    In November, the ACLU and four servicewomen sued Panetta and the Pentagon regarding the policy which excluded women from combat roles. They argued, as others have for some time, that in fact, women were already serving in combat roles.

    And yes, it is “another blow to the Republican right.” Just as the military didn’t implode and see a mass exodus of heterosexuals after DADT (as some of the “Republican right” argued) was lifted, this official recognition (and in this case, no doubt broadening) of roles women are already playing won’t result in a decline in combat readiness or even “unit cohesion.”

    • Taylor Marsh January 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      This is a bitter one for the right. It goes to their very notion of gender roles, because as you know, they don’t event acknowledge The Gays. ;-)

    • Cujo359 January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Even in the late 1980s, the Army had female soldiers working in brigade headquarters, which meant that they were within a few miles of the front lines. They might not have been in rifle range, but they were definitely within reach of enemy artillery and air strikes. In Iraq, of course, they were even closer, often involved in fire fights with resistance fighters.

      So yes, the idea that there aren’t already women in the line of fire has been fiction for a long time.

  2. spincitysd January 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    With the modern battlefield being what it is, and with our military fighting asymmetrical wars for the foreseeable future, the ideas of front line and combat positions is antiquated. That the misogynist, knuckle-dragging, troglodytes of the Republican far right have not got the memo yet is no surprise.

  3. Joyce Arnold January 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Of course, all of this comes in the context of questions about our “perpetual war” status.

  4. james richardson January 24, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    You know, I can’t help but wonder why they chose this moment to announce it. It may be a coincidence, but this a) takes some press off of Hilary WHILE sure to trigger the right’s misogyny. That way attacts on Clinton can’t help but look a little more mysogynist than they did before. If they did do it on purpose I think it was smart, keeps the right on defense and reminds the voters why they abandoned the right in 2012.

    Actual politics coming out of the White House. I never thought I’d see the day.

  5. secularhumanizinevoluter January 24, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    Frankly I think every citizen….male. female, gay, straight, transgender has the RIGHT to have the opportunity to get their head blown off if combat duty is necessary.
    Now for a UNIVERSAL draft of ALL 18 year olds with NO exemptions and maybe we will do a little more introspection before launching any more forever wars.

  6. Solo January 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Cue the right wing freakout! http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/conservatives-republicans-women-combat-military

    • spincitysd January 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Hey, only he-man women haters can be real “warriors” don’t cha know?

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