DoD

January 31, 2013

Defense Department expands women’s combat role

Tags:
Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
(DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta hands Army Lt. Col. Tamatha Patterson a document he signed during a news conference at the Pentagon, Jan. 24, to lift the Defense Department’s ban on women in direct ground combat roles.

WASHINGTON — Following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today announced the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members.

U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, joined Panetta at a Pentagon news conference in announcing the policy change.

The secretary also announced that the service branches will continue to move forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.

The change is intended to ensure that the best qualified and most capable Service members, regardless of gender, are available to carry out the mission, Panetta said.

“If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation,” he said.

In a statement released following the announcement, President Barack Obama praised the decision.

“This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military,” the president said. The decision opens up about 237,000 positions to women — 184,000 in combat arms professions and 53,000 assignments that were closed based on unit type.

Women are an integral part of DOD’s ability to fulfill its mission, Panetta said. “Over more than a decade of war, they have demonstrated courage, skill and patriotism, and 152 women in uniform have died serving this nation in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

The new policy is the culmination of a process that began last year, a senior defense official told reporters today. More than 14,000 assignments in ground combat units or collocated with ground combat units were opened to women in February.

That extension of women’s roles had a positive impact, Panetta said at the news conference.

“Every time I’ve visited the war zone, met with troops, reviewed military operations, talked to wounded warriors, I have been impressed with the fact that everyone is committed to doing the job,” he said. “They are fighting and dying together. The time has come for our policies to recognize that reality.”

The change ensured sufficient female mid-grade and senior enlisted and officers were in place to guarantee successful integration of junior personnel, a senior defense official said.

The secretary has directed the military services to undertake an evaluation of all occupational performance standards to ensure they are up to date and gender-neutral. Specialty schools will be included in the evaluation, a senior defense official said. The results of this evaluation are to be submitted to the defense secretary by May 15, while the entire process is to be completed by Jan. 1, 2016.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
DoD

Air Force offers assistance to PII hack victims

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and the Depa...
 
 
DoD

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

  WASHINGTON – The Defense Department today closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of...
 
 
DoD

OPM acts to protect federal workers, others from cyber threats

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — U.S. Office of Personnel Management officials announced July 9, the results of the interagency forensics investigation into a recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data and the steps OPM is taking to protect those affected. In late May, as a result of ongoing efforts to secure its systems, OPM discovered an...
 

 
DoD
(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Michael Smith)

Working group to study implications of transgender service

WASHINGTON – A Defense Department working group will study the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly in the military, and its work will presume they can do so unless objective and ...
 
 
DoD

Dempsey releases national military strategy

  WASHINGTON – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot predict exactly where the next threat to the United States and its interests may come from, but he knows it will happen faster than in the past and the U.S. military must be prepared. The National Military Strategy released today by Army Gen....
 
 
DoD

New ‘peer’ consultation service debuts at Military OneSource

WASHINGTON – A “peer-to-peer” specialty consultation service that began June 15 offered by Military OneSource is the newest resource to support and connect service members and their families with professionals who understand the military life, a Defense Department personnel and readiness official said. In an interview with DoD News, Air Force Lt. Col. Tammy S....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>