DoD

February 1, 2013

Dempsey: Allowing women in combat strengthens Joint Force

Tags:
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
130124-D-NI589-569
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shake hands after signing a memo to lift the ban on women in the military from serving in combat roles as they address the media in the Pentagon Press Briefing Room Jan. 24, 2013. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett) (Released)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rescinding the policy that excluded women since 1994 from serving in direct ground combat positions will strengthen the military, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, Jan 24.

U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey joined Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta at a Pentagon news conference to announce the decision and to sign a joint memorandum that sets the process in motion.

“Today we are acting to expand the opportunities for women to serve in the United States armed forces and to better align our policies with the experiences we have had over the past decade of war,” Dempsey said. “Ultimately, we’re acting to strengthen the joint force.”

As part of the new policy, the services are reviewing about 53,000 positions now closed by unit, but will be open to women who meet standards developed for the positions.

According to senior defense officials, the services are also reviewing about 184,000 positions now closed by specialty, but will be open to women who meet the standards.

Gender-neutral occupational standards are specific requirements for anyone who wants to qualify for a specific job, an official explained. This is different from a physical fitness test, which is a general assessment of fitness that is standardized for gender and age throughout the services.

If any of the services recommend that a specific position be closed to women, the secretary of defense must personally approve that recommendation, the official said. Panetta directed the military departments to submit detailed implementation plans by, May 15 and to move ahead to integrate women into previously closed positions. The Secretary directed the process to be complete by Jan. 1, 2016.

Women make up about 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s, 1.4 million active-duty personnel. Over the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan — 152 of them have died.

Many women in uniform, Dempsey said, have already served in combat, recalling his arrival in Baghdad as commander of the 1st Armored Division in 2003. During his first foray out of the forward operating base, he said, he hopped into an up-armored Humvee and asked the driver who he was and where he was from, Dempsey recalled. Then, he slapped the turret gunner on the leg and asked, ‘Who are you?’ She leaned down and said, ‘I’m Amanda.”

The female turret-gunner was protecting her division commander, the Chairman said. “It was from that point on that I realized something had changed and it was time to do something about it,” he said.

The Joint Chiefs share common cause on the need to start the process of integrating women into combat-related jobs that have been closed to them and to do it right, Dempsey said.

“We’re committed to a purposeful and a principled approach,” he said, adding that the Joint Chiefs developed a set of guiding principles for successfully integrating women into previously restricted occupational fields.

The department and the services will extend opportunities to women in a way that maintains readiness, morale and unit cohesion and preserves warfighting capability, in addition to upholding the nation’s trust and confidence. Dempsey said

“We’ll also integrate women in a way that enhances opportunity for everyone. This means setting clear standards of performance for all occupations based on what it actually takes to do the job,” the Chairman explained.

“It also means ensuring that these standards are gender-neutral in occupations that will open to women,” he added.

The services and U.S. Special Operations Command will begin expanding the number of units and the number of women assigned to those units this year, the Chairman said.

“They will continue to assess, develop and validate gender-neutral standards, so we can start assigning personnel to previously closed occupations,” he added. “They will take the time needed to do the work without compromising the principles I just mentioned.”

Adherence to the principles may lead to an assessment that some specialties and ratings should remain exceptions, he noted.

“In some cases, however, the services will bear the responsibility for providing the thorough analysis needed to better understand and better articulate what’s best for the Joint Force and the women who serve in it,” the Chairman said.

Women will continue to serve with distinction throughout the armed forces, he said, in and out of combat, on land and at sea and in the air.

“We all wear the same uniform and we all fire the same weapons,” he added. “Most importantly, we all take the same oath.”




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


 
 

 
DoD
MOMC_graphic

DOD salutes children during military child month

The Defense Department believes military children serve their country alongside their service member parents, DOD’s director of the office of family policy/children and youth said. When military children serve, they do so by ...
 
 
DoD

CSAF: Every budget decision hurts

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The U.S. Air Force is the finest in the world, “and we need to keep it that way,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, said March 14. The Air Force’s fiscal 2015 budget request was built to ensure its combat power remains unequaled, Welsh told members of the House Armed...
 
 
DoD
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christine Jones

Defense budget proposal inactivates March squadron

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christine Jones U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, shows digital photographs to an Afghan soldier in Shabila Kalan, Zabul province, Afghanistan. Monday’s rele...
 

 
DoD

Military Saves week approaches

This year’s Military Saves Week begins 24 February and concludes 1 March. It is a great opportunity for service members and their families to insure financial readiness through incentivized savings accounts and available services at financial institutions, as well as the resources provided through the Military Saves Campaign. Military Saves is a social marketing campaign...
 
 
DoD
Defense Department photo/

Spotlight Shines on Sports Programmers during Winter Olympics

Defense Department photo/ Steve McGill Sports Programming Specialist, Willie Price (left), and Chief, Sports Programming, Corey Slutsky, American Forces Network Broadcast Center, each scheduled more than 500 hours of Winter Oly...
 
 
DoD

VA launches online tools — calculate Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits; provide feedback

WASHINGTON, D. C. — The Veterans Affairs Department launched new online tools this week to make it easier for veterans, service members and family members to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and learn more about VA’s approved colleges, universities and other education and training programs across the country, as well as to provide feedback...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin