DoD

August 2, 2013

Services continue efforts to open combat jobs for women

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Defense Department continues working toward its goal of ensuring the mission is met with fully qualified and capable personnel, regardless of gender, the Pentagon’s director of officer and enlisted personnel management said here yesterday.

Speaking at a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee hearing on women in service, Juliet Beyler said the services and U.S. Special Operations Command are working with research agencies to review and validate occupational standards.

“The department is proceeding in a measured, deliberate and responsible manner to implement changes that enable service members to serve in any capacity based on their ability and qualifications,” she said. Each service is conducting thorough doctrine, training, education, facilities and policy analyses to ensure deliberate and responsible implementation, she added.

Beyler was joined at the hearing by witnesses from each of the military services and Socom.

“Our goal is to integrate women leaders and soldiers into recently opened positions and units as expeditiously as possible,” said Army Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for personnel. The first step is to validate the physical and mental performance standards for every military occupation, he said.

From there, a battery of tests will be developed to assess whether recruits are capable of achieving the standards of their potential occupation, said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert E. Milstead Jr., deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs.

Standards ultimately will become gender-neutral, Bromberg said, though training for those standards may be different for men and women. Occupational training in the Marine Corps is gender-mixed, Milstead told the panel, but in recognition of the need to train men and women differently, the transformation from recruit to Marine is gender-segregated.

“Our boot camp is about the transformation of individuals — men and women — from being a civilian to being a United States Marine. … They just need different steps as they go,” he said. “They end up in the same place — they’re United States Marines.”

The decision to rescind the 1994 rule excluding women from direct ground combat and combat occupations was announced earlier this year. Then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, directed the military services and Socom to implement the change by Jan. 1, 2016, Beyler said. By September 2015, each service and Socom must review and validate all occupational standards to ensure that they are occupationally and operationally relevant and applied gender-neutrally, she added.

“We have always maintained that our [special operations forces] standards are occupationally specific, operationally relevant and gender-neutral. They are just the standards,” said Army Maj. Gen. Bennet Sacolick, director of force management and development for Socom. “Our review will be a good opportunity to verify this assumption.”

Plans for managing the integration of women into previously closed units and occupations already have been submitted and reviewed by Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and were released last month, Beyler said. Each plan manages positions in two general categories: currently open occupations that previously were restricted by the unit of assignment, and currently closed occupations, such as infantry or armor specialties.

“And each has identified decision points by which they will make final determinations to open occupations and positions or request an exception to policy to keep the position or occupation closed,” Beyler said.

For Socom, the focus is on whether small units, operating near or behind enemy lines, can achieve full integration while maintaining unit readiness, cohesion and morale, Sacolick said.

“Women have been attached to our combat units for several years, part of our cultural support teams, civil affairs, military information support teams, intelligence support and a host of other occupational specialties,” he said. “And they have performed magnificently.”

The Air Force already has more than 99 percent of its positions open to both men and women, said Brig. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, director of force management policy and deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services.

The remaining 4,600 positions are in seven career fields affiliated with special operations and long-range reconnaissance ground combat units. The Air Force is working to open these positions as well, Grosso added.

“[The] Navy expects to have no closed occupations, a very limited number of closed positions, and equal professional opportunity for females in every officer designator and enlisted rating by 2016,” said Navy Rear Adm. Barbara Sweredoski, reserve deputy for military personnel plans and policy.

Exceptions must be personally approved by both the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Beyler said. Opening combat occupations to women will enhance the readiness and combat effectiveness of forces, she added.

“Implementation through 2016 will be an evolutionary process,” she said. “We are committed to opening positions and occupations when and how it makes sense while preserving unit readiness, cohesion and the quality of the all-volunteer force.

“Standards will be uncompromising, established for the task of defending our nation and rooted in carefully analyzed requirements,” she added.

Bromberg said the Army is taking that approach. “We will not sacrifice warfighting capability, the trust of Congress or that of the American people as we seek to enhance force readiness and capability,” he said. “We will select the best-qualified soldiers, regardless of gender, for each job within the Army profession, ensuring our future force capability and readiness.”

Beyler told the House panel that the Defense Department is committed to doing it right.

“We recognize there will be challenges, but we will learn much from each step,” she said. “By addressing issues head-on, capitalizing on lessons learned and through open communication with Congress, we will institutionalize these important changes integrating women into occupations and units in a climate where they can succeed and flourish.”




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


 
 

 
Tammy_Duckworth,_official_portrait,_113th_Congress

Knowing the facts: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard in 2004. One of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Fr...
 
 

452nd felt early frost in Cold War

(Ninth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) Two weeks after the D-Day invasion, 47 B-17s from the 452nd Bombardment Group and other Army Air Forces units were destroyed by German aircraft at a largely undefended Russian airfield. The attack, which began about 12:30 a.m. June 22, 1944, destroyed...
 
 

Air Force to implement TDY policy changes

The Air Force recently implemented two TDY policy changes that will impact travel reimbursements for Airmen. The first change, which took effect Oct. 1, made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations, Reimbursable and Incidental Expense Policy. The second will be a change in long-term TDY per diem expenses and take effect Nov. 1. Under the...
 

 
running

Lacing up: Finding your ‘WooHoo’ moment

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard For those who run with me, they know I can get a bit noisy. A celebratory “WooHoo” is a must at the start of taking any hill. The drumbeat of sneakers on the pavement, labore...
 
 
Dom-Violence-Aware-Month-photo

Domestic Violence awareness Month: How to help a friend who is being abused

Here are some ways to help a friend who is being abused: •Set up a time to talk. Try to make sure you have privacy and won’t be distracted or interrupted. •Let your friend know you’re concerned about her safety. Be hone...
 
 
(Courtesy photo/Joe Mora)

Shadowy figure blocks exit to room in March Field building

(Courtesy photo/Joe Mora) A camera captures what appears to be a shadowy figure (left side) sitting in one of several chairs lined up against a wall in a building on March Air Reserve Base Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The image wa...
 




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