U.S. military women headed to front lines

The ban on women serving on the front lines in combat is on its way to be lifted.

(Fox News) — Women in all branches of the military soon will have unprecedented opportunities to serve on the front lines of the nation’s wars.

Leon Panetta, in one of his last acts as President Obama’s defense secretary, is preparing to announce the policy change Thursday, which would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war, the Pentagon confirmed.

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.

[…]

Some front-line military roles may open to women as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force, may take longer.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, but only on a procedural level.  For instance, women serve in police and fire departments all across the country, and they do a fine job.  My hesitation is that women’s agility tests and physical requirements are relaxed compared to the standards of their male counterparts.  I’m not certain if this is the case for the military in general, however, it would be cause for concern if it were the case.

If women were held to the same physical standards as men, I have no issues for the most part, except for one possible concern. The damsel in distress.  I think men are wired such that they feel an innate impulse to protect women in danger.  Finding themselves in combat with women, men might find themselves feeling like they cant leave a female comrade to fend for herself the same way he might if it were a man in the same position.

I also have a feeling that many women join the military knowing they won’t have to serve in combat.  This may or may not have an impact on the number of women who enlist.

I don’t know this for a fact, but it has the sense of being the case.  I’m not sold one way or another on this issue.  I lean toward not allowing women to be assigned combat positions.  I could be swayed in either direction since my biggest concern is the physical requirements and standards.  If women are held to the same standards, that would make a significant difference in which side of the fence I fall on.

 

Comments

  1. I think your hesitation is atypical. Many who have not served in the military, much less served with women, still have reservations. I did have many questions prior to enlisting before I was in the Army. But after about 3 days I discovered that my potential misgivings were unfounded.
    There are basic fitness requirements for everyone in the military and there are more specific requirements based on one’s age, height and weight. And further winnowing down to job description poses further strength/fitness requirements. I never met a female in the military, who wasn’t injured, who never met their basic or specific fitness requirements. The military’s statistics show that as measured against the backdrop of men vs women, more men on average fail their basic requirements.
    Your other concern about male personnel being hardwired to treat women differently is also not accurate. Either measured by combat effectiveness or any other metric.
    For instance my wife who joined the Army as a cook, was within 3 mos. put in the position of being her unit commanders executive assistant. When she deployed the first time to Iraq this was for all intents her 9-5 M-F job. After 5 she was designated as combat and control convoy security. This put my wife and countless other women on the front lines starting at the outset of the conflicts in both theaters. This meant that she was on numerous occasions, in combat side by side with male counterparts. It was an effective workaround from the outset employed by unit commanders and 2 star (division) generals to fill needed combat roles without having the necessary numbers and personnel. I would suggest the numerous articles on the subject from the Army Times and Military.com.
    Also the standards and training in the IDF and further the effectiveness of the outcome, speak for themselves with a very long record of women in combat.
    The real reason this has not been a national conversation before now is because the Pentagon knows that the only hurdle they really face is the increase in sexual misconduct/assault that is going to follow. This on top of the horrid record the military has already in this regard is the reason this idea of women in combat has been long in coming. Of note though, is that just because it might be hard or complex to integrate women into these roles, it still needs to happen. There is no logical reason to keep women out of combat. Although there are plenty of biased opinions.
    Thanks for making it a topic here. It needs a fair amount of constructive, civil discourse. Just like the idea of either ending the all male draft or making women do the same on their 18th birthday.

  2. I’m sure everyone knows that women are (on average) physically weaker than men in significant ways. If the aim of this is that women who meet the same standards that men in combat already meet can fight in combat, I have no reservations (it will have very little impact on the percentage of women in combat). On the other hand, if it gives rise to lowering standards so that women can serve in combat at lower weights, physical strengths etc. than men, it’s a bad idea. The point of an army is to protect the country, not to make any group feel wanted. It doesn’t matter whether they are female, disabled or underage. The military shouldn’t lower standards to accommodate anyone. It’s not a damn club.

    • I wonder Tracy, if you you have tracked the lowered standards in the military to date across many metrics and had any opinion to voice over those? For instance the Army had to up it’s age limit to 39 in order to fill it’s ranks. Drug use is so rampant that the military in 2004 needed to allow for personnel to at a minimum complete their contract before being discharged. Now the Army puts them into rehab and they are allowed to re-enlist. One example comes to mind in which a Soldier who was a diesel mechanic was 70 lbs overweight, had 3 drug felonies and tested, through urinalysis, and shown to be a chronic consumer of cocaine, amphetamines and marijuana. This was in 2003. He was not only able to finish his first enlistment contract, but allowed to re-up twice and eventually left in 2009. He never passed a monthly physical exam. Of major importance is of course this was no isolated incident.
      Your preoccupation with a woman’s strength seems misplaced when you seem to have no objections to men failing an ever decreasing set of standards right under our collective noses.

      • What gave you the impression that I have no objection to lowered standards in other areas? Did I not end by saying that the military should not lower standards to accommodate anyone?

      • Based on my experience in law enforcement, my primary concern is realized on a regular basis. Women enter the field through lax standards and as a result they are “looked out for”.

        I just heard on the radio that physical and agility requirements will not be relaxed, which is good. But this makes me wonder, will women who don’t want to fight be allowed to not fight? Is it fair that they have that as an option? Wouldn’t women who don’t want to fight fail the tests intentionally?

        • I think now John you are asking questions that will be answered in time. I worked fire/ rescue for a number of years and found that the dynamic was weighted in unique ways. Fo example most of the women in the cities in which I worked met the universal standards. There was no separate set of standards for them. At the time the physical part of the entrance exam in NY was harder than anything I did in the military. Further, they felt they had something to prove and worked harder than the men. And at the time, 22 years ago, the majority of the men were making things purposefully harder for the women to see if they could really cut it. That has changed quite a bit now. Of note again, is the fact that I only ever knew men who were getting waivers for their weight and inability to pass the physicals.
          Your question of whether or not women will have to fight is a bit moot already since the majority of them thought they would never see combat and then very quickly did in spite of their MOS being a non combat position. I have yet to meet a female in the military who was trying to weasel their way out of the tough stuff.

  3. Personally, I have no issue with women being trained for combat. I believe women should train in self-defense in civilian life, and a time might come when women are needed to shore up a diminishing army. But they should be kept in reserve and used only in the most extreme of circumstances. I don’t really care if they can meet the physical requirements. I don’t really care if they can shoot straighter or handle stress better. When they allowed women on ships and submarines, pregnancy became and issue. It is hard to ignore sexual attraction and the problems that can provoke. I cannot stand the notion that anyone would treat the military as an appropriate context for social experimentation.

  4. When my husband was in basic training (a 13 week officer training version that is no longer available in Canada), there was actually a quota for the number of women they had to graduate. There were only a few women going through BOTC at the same time he did, and one woman in particular was a problem. During runs, for example, her pack (60lbs) ended up being redistributed among the others and she ran without – and still had a hard time. This lead to resentment among the other trainees, including the women who *were* able to do the training.

    There weren’t just quotas for women, but ethnic minorities as well. The problem with these quotas is that there are so few women, and often so few ethnic minorities, going into the military, they had to lower standards to pass people just to meet the quota. Now, this was 25 years ago, and things have changed. As far as I know, there no longer is any sort of quota, and all members are held to the same standards.

    Being in the navy, my husband served with women for his entire time in the military, and the only accomodations made were in regards to living quarters and privacy – at least as much as possible on board ship! There was no way to have women on board ship and not have them serve the same as any of the men; being on board ship, *everyone* is on the front lines. One female officer he served with and became friends with went on to rise in the ranks, and she earned it, unlike others (male and female) who were “promoted to the level of incompetency.” No one had a problem serving under her leadership.

    Yes, there were some women he served with that were less than competent, but so were some of the men. There were sexual indiscretions as well, but then most of the men he served with could best be described as sluts, anyhow, so there was nothing new or unusual there.

    While I can see where potential problems can be found, I actually have no problem with women on the front lines. If they pass qualification, I don’t see any legitimate reason to prevent it.

  5. Okay, after writing the above, I just had to look her up – my husband’s old friend went on to become the first woman to command a Canadian warship. http://assolutatranquillita.blogspot.ca/2009/04/commander-josee-kurtz-first-woman-to.html She wasn’t Kurtz yet, when we knew her. An awesome woman, and an excellent officer.

  6. Women have no business in combat. It just shows the culture’s corrupt nature when they don’t even value their women.

    And, yes, the standards are lowered drastically to get women to physically qualify. I was in when they first allowed women to be paratroopers. At the time they could only be riggers, which was fine if they had a badge with only one wing – that would be a badge of honor. But the standards for them to be parachute qualified was drastically reduced, and any man would have been washed out. I was in the largest parachute qualification class in history – we started with 1500 men. We lost a full third due to inability to meet the physical qualifications; and these were men who had already passed a rough physical test to qualify for the training – a test many of the women who were wearing wings would not have been able to pass, let alone the rigors the 3-week course.

    A society who has such a low value of women is a society I don’t want to be a part of. I highly recommend people read the following articles as to why we should not be putting our women in combat; it weakens the military, abuses the women, reduces the value of women, and corrupts society all the more:

    http://www.dennyburk.com/women-in-combat-and-the-undoing-of-civilization/
    http://www.dennyburk.com/the-reality-that-awaits-women-in-combat/

    http://townhall.com/columnists/lindachavez/2013/01/25/women-in-combat-spells-trouble-n1496957/page/full/

    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/58641/women-in-combat-already-failed-every-hear-of-jessica-lynch-or-alexis-hutchinson-or-chick-marine-infantrymen/

    http://townhall.com/columnists/markdavis/2013/01/25/military-and-society-threatened-by-women-in-combat-n1497065/page/full/

    • I couldn’t even begin to imagine that you could muster anything beyond this contradictory and archaic opinion. Luckily women in the military and or combat has absolutely nothing to do with your opinions.
      Please do tell us Glenn, even just for the sake of entertainment, what is the “value” of women? Are you lumping the IDF in there with this assertion? So society has a “low” value of women when it allows for them to pursue their own individual freedoms and liberties? Should they be allowed to vote, speak when not spoken to? So your dogmatic “valuing” system would actually take an individuals rights away? How is it that it is ok for you to have this opinion but you blather away incessantly about the your religious rights or the rights of the fetus? No contradiction.? No hypocrisy tearing the psyche apart? These are incompatible views logically. But I do suppose that having been given your opinions it’s a bit easier.
      Your anecdotal experience from how many decades ago (?), has zero bearing on the reality that women having been fighting, killing and being killed for you and your ilk since we revisited Iraq and went to Afghanistan.
      Your narrow old world view is going the way of the dinosaurs……

      • R.Nash,
        Just because women have been in combat, that doesn’t make it right, moral, or even sane. The IDF is sort of stuck – everyone in that country has to be able to defend themselves; the whole nation needs to be an army or else be annihilated. But noticed they don’t send the women where the men should be.

        It is a low value of women when you treat them as men. I don’t think you read the articles or you wouldn’t respond the way you did.

        You have raised quite a few straw men. Does voting have anything to do with the intrinsic differences between men and women? Has anyone even remotely suggested that women should not be allowed to speak unless spoken to? Such stupid arguments you make!

        No, there is no contradiction. You like the word “fetus” because then you can pretend it isn’t human – you marginalize the value away by using a latin word. It is still a baby, and a baby has a right to live, except by people like you who have no value for life. There is nothing contradictory or illogical about protecting individual liberty while at the same time protecting life.

        Just remember, liberty is not absolute. But then again, I wonder if you think a woman should have the liberty to be a porn star.

        The fact that my “anecdotal evidence” is factual evidence (as can be proven by asking anyone who was in the paratroops at the time) does matter. The fact that it took place almost 40 years ago does not negate the fact that it is still current ideology – lessening standards to get women in combat positions. But the empirical facts are that women and men are different physically and psychologically. If you are too stupid to understand that, then you are to be pitied.

        • Oh with the pity, please. Glenn prove or provide factual evidence that women in combat is abuse of women. Since the premise is subjective it really is just rhetorical. You also avoided entirely the defining of “value” as it pertains to your opinion of women in combat. Care to cover that? Can you do it without evoking your biblical moral or principals, which of course have no place in the conversation?

          And you are way off base proclaiming that women in places “where men should be” is factually and patently wrong with regards to the IDF. I’ve been there and have female friends who engage in combat side by side with men in any number of “hotspots”.
          And I bring up the “straw men” so as to isolate your probable other views of women.

          BTW fetus is the correct term for the stage of development when in the womb. Wrong again. Try harder.

          And yes a woman not only has the liberty to be a porn star but it is a right guaranteed to her via the Bill of Rights. For you to equate being a porn star to a women choosing to fight and maybe die for her country with your backwater drivel is both expected but alas quite sad.

          And yes your single, narrow field of view “experience” is anecdotal because of it’s small sample. It under represents data, and of course yours is again proven to be irrelevant because of its age. How many other decision do you think we should base on your limited experience from 40 years ago?

          And again if you are to make empirical claims they need to be backed up with sound and objective evidence. Unless your too stupid to know that.

          BTW your links come from such subjectively biased sources as to be useless. But they do self refer to your own bias so I can see why you would adhere to the pseudo findings. Burk is a dated Foghorn Leghorn baptist who brings his irrelevant biblical bias to the table. This bias is not even close to good enough to keep women out of combat MOS’s.

          Adios dinosaur.

          • R.Nash,
            “Fetus” was not always used to describe a particular point of development – it was originally used to refer to the pre-born child period, but it was never intended to be used to denigrate the life it described – it was never used to say there was little value to the child at that point and therefore killable.

            Your idea of my “probable other views of women” is just as fallacious as your whole warped ideology.

            Those who wrote the Constitution would never have agreed that a woman had the right to be a porn star. Pornography is a parasite on society, and women who participate in it subject themselves to horrible abuse and misuse – just like any woman POW will be subjected to, as has been already experiences.

            Yeah, those sites I referred to are indeed biased – they are written by people who find more value intrinsic value in women than do people of your ilk. They are written by people who have a rational understanding of what combat is about. And they have also explained by factual evidence how women reduced military readiness. But don’t let facts get in the way of your ideology, which, of course isn’t biased at all – is it?

            So, since what I related happened 40 years ago, it therefore has no value? Even though the evidence of current situations have proven that the standards have continued to be lowered? What I witnessed was the beginning of social engineering in the military, and was one of the reasons I left after five years rather than make a career out of it as planned. I didn’t want to be a part of a military which pandered to social engineers and femi-nazis. I have good friends in the military now, and that continues to be a huge complaint – social engineering.

            It is people like you who contribute to the corruption of our society.

            • Well thanks for not answering a single question. Not one.
              Good luck holding onto your culture war and belief system as they decay through your biblical lens Glenn.
              BTW none of those articles explained by “factual evidence” how women across the board have reduced combat effectiveness. Zero, nada, zip. Man your 0-6. You even dragged out the die hard feminazi!!!

              • Nash,
                I answered your questions as they deserved to be answered. By the way, it is my Biblical belief system which saved the world from total moral demise.

                If you didn’t find any facts in those articles, then you weren’t paying attention. Your bias is so blatantly obvious and yet you complain of bias – you hypocrite.

              • Your belief system saved the world from total moral demise? Setting aside for a moment the hubris and utter ignorant arrogance of such a statement, how can you claim, ad nauseum, that this country is morally bankrupt or worse and say that you and your bible saved it?
                And please for all involved, do show us the courtesy of extracting objective evidence from any one of your links that factually supports your assertion that women don’t have a “right” to fight and die for their country.
                Good luck

              • R.Nash,
                Typical liberal misrepresenting what was said.

                I didn’t say “I” saved the world from moral bankruptcy, I said the Christian faith did. Try reading history sometime, and here’s a good book to start with:
                “Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization,” by Alvin J. Schmidt. Lots of empirical evidence in there for ya. You’ll find the same stuff in many good history books. (The newer title for later printings is “How Christianity Changed the World”)

                Nor did I ever intimate that a woman didn’t have a “right” to pretend to be a man and go into combat. Our discussion was about whether or not they had the “liberty” to do so, and my contention is that liberty doesn’t define right or wrong – e.g., a woman has a right to participate in a porn film, but she really doesn’t have the moral “liberty” to do so without doing something immoral.

                Nor did I claim any of the articles I linked to said women had no right to go into combat. The point is that it is morally wrong for humane society to allow their women to participate in combat without an emergency need (such as Israel is always under due to Islam wanting their eradication). The point is also that in order for these women to “qualify” in most of the same combat roles men serve in, they have to lower the standards by which the selection process is made. The point is that women and men are intrinsically different both physically and psychologically. The point is that this adds to the moral corruption of this nation.

                This nation began going morally bankrupt with corrupt politicians violating the Constitution and inventing “entitlements,” but the moral bankruptcy began even faster downhill slides with the euthanasia movement at the turn of the 20th century, the abortion mills being given government sanction, pornography being protected under freedom of speech/press, the feminist movement making for easy divorce, the state sanctioning of sexual perversion, the entertainment industry brainwashing people into a hedonistic worldview, the removal of God from public discourse, etc, etc, etc. This country is morally bankrupt, and the proof is the election of Obamanation.

  7. Gee, Haven’t I said THIS!!!!!!

    http://cnsnews.com/image/gen-dempsey-if-women-can-t-meet-military-standard-pentagon-will-ask-does-it-really-have-be

    But Mr. R. Nash poo-ppos me. Now, poo-poo the General!

    • Your done Glenn, take your loss and come to terms that women have been in combat for more than a decade and will now legally have the rights afforded men. Your time is over, adios. Apparently you and your radical fundamentalist bent is no longer relevant. Your inexcusable and zealot like “values” and morals have no reason to interfere with the rights of another to serve their country. I can’t believe that no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta, Obama or even a lowly nobody at the Pentagon took your call! Your biblical view of the world is no longer dictating policy. You lost. It happened on your watch. The country went to hell in a hand basket while you were on watch. The culture war was lost on your watch. Take some responsibility and lose like a man already. I mean the best the conservative christian based gop/rnc could come up with against obama (2008) was Guiliani, Huckabee, Mcain, Romney, bat shit crazy Paul and Keyes and Brownback. And this apparently wasn’t “conservative/crazy enough!!! So the next time around you added Bachmann (insane), Santorum (also insane), Gingrich (not the right man for the job the first 12 times he’s run), Romney (again), Paul (again), Perry (both drunk and stupid) and lets top it off with Cain! Where do you think your conservative agenda was going to go with this collection of idiocy? I mean obama was/is an average to below average president…..and your conservative wing didn’t even come close. The first time around nominating Mcain and Pailin. It’s like you guys wanted to throw the election. And this time around you decide that the best way to go after obama is with the most pro corporate candidate in history, who also happens to be a member of the mormon cult/sect of christianity. Your party is in shambles. And your morality is just yours. You have no right to make it everyones. The jig is up.
      Majority rules…….

      • R.Nash,
        For all your proclaimed intelligence, you continue to write “your” for “your’e” – must be that public school education.
        You’re right, my morals and values are no longer relevant in a society which gives no value to women, no value to life, and promotes every form of sexual immorality to the total decay of society.

        I have never said, by the way, that women don’t have a “right” or “liberty” to do what they want. We all have liberty to do anything we want, but usually it is wise to NOT exercise every liberty we have. Not all exercising of personal liberty is productive or even safe. Not all exercise of liberty is moral or proper. Just because you have the right or liberty to do something, that doesn’t mean you should do it.

        No, the culture war was not lost on my watch – it was lost before I was born when the country left laws and morals behind.

        You call Republicans with more moral sense that Obamanation “bat shit crazy,” when the craziness is those like you and Obama who are bankrupting this nation and turning it into a socialist, immoral cesspool.

        Majority is no proof of what is right – it is only power to force what is wrong on those who remain followers of God.

        You will indeed begin to realize what you’ve done to this country when you become a victim of the insane policies.

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