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.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher

Air Force JROTC cadets graduate Summer Leadership School

U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher Air Force JROTC cadets from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley and Arlington High School in Riverside, graduate from a two week Summer Leadership School, held at March Air Reserve Base,...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

Airmen attend second annual Norton-March reunion

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Senior Master Sgt. Paul Mitt, detachment chief, 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, answers questions about the MQ-9 Reaper at March Air Reserve Base on June 20. Members of the Nort...
 
 
Halle-Berry

Halle Berry Connects With the U.S. Military

Halle Berry stars in the Science-Fiction show “Extant,” which just began its second season. Finding out someone values and appreciates what you do can keep you floating at cloud level for weeks, especially when the someone ...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Charles “Chuck” Flood, Satellite Services, Inc., passed away unexpectedly, June 17, 2015

Courtesy photo Chuck Flood: March 16, 1963 – June 17, 2015 Flood had been employed by SSI since February, 2005. He had been the fire truck mechanic, responsible for over 15 fire fighting vehicles at Edwards Air Force Base and...
 
 
Watchara Phomicinda — LA Daily News staff  photographer

March honor guard gives final honors to America’s veterans

(Final in a two-part series on honor guard, reprinted with permission) Watchara Phomicinda — LA Daily News staff photographer Brittarose Morgan, 77, right, wife of the late Airman First Class Roland Morgan with daughter, Kym ...
 
 
HBI-photo

Fitness at a glance – It’s all about timing!

Ever notice how your anxiety tends to increase around your fitness assessment time (FA)? It is amazing that in 20 minutes (or less) your FA is over, but your anxiety level has cumulatively increased over the 30-90 days (or more...
 




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>