Commission to recommend allowing women in combat units
“A military advisory panel appears poised to recommend allowing female troops to serve in combat units without any restrictions, calling the current prohibition an out-of-date idea that unnecessarily discriminates against women.
If approved by military officials, the move could open front-line posts to military women for the first time. Until now, either U.S. law or Pentagon policy has prohibited female troops from serving in any unit whose primary mission is direct ground combat, although they may serve in combat support roles.
The Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by Congress two years ago, issued the recommendation as part of a draft report on diversity in the services. The final report is due to lawmakers this spring, and commission members are meeting this week in Virginia to debate final changes.
In the draft, commission members call for a phased approach to open additional career fields with ground combat units to qualified women, saying the current policy limits the ability of commanders to pick the most capable person for their missions.
“To date, there has been little evidence that the integration of women into previously closed units or occupations has had a negative impact on important mission-related performance factors, like unit cohesion,” the draft states.
“Furthermore, a study by the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services actually found that a majority of focus group participants felt that women serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a positive impact on mission accomplishment.”
(Read the entire story at Stars and Stripes)