Women soldiers, guns, combat? Oorah! Or not. Not until 2015 anyway. The Defense Department’s released the U.S. military services’ and U.S. Special Operations Command’s plans for “implementing women into previously closed positions.” There’s a plan for every branch of America’s armed services: Army, Navy, Air Force (page not found) and Marines. Oh and Special Operations Command. “The successful integration of women into currently closed positions requires the department to be thoughtful and deliberate in determining the next steps. The department will proceed in a measured and responsible way to open positions to women. Full implementation by the services should occur by Jan. 1, 2016.” Yes, well, there’s some interesting language in them thar plans. The Army doc says . . .
At any point, if we are no able to meet the guiding principles, we will ask for an exception to policy to close positions, units or occupations for women.
The Navy’s cool with women on submarines. Except the smaller ones (the subs not the women) as the “costs of appropriate berthing and privacy arrangements are prohibitive.” Babes with bullets are are banned (alliteration give me a break) from the positions of SEAL Officer, SEAL LDO, SEAL CWO, SEAL enlisted (SB, SO) (units engaged in Special Operations Forces missions).
The Marines? Ha! “Standards will not be artificially raised or lowered and will be aligned with occupational and operational requirements.” Their doc provides a helpful list of 32 positions closed to the fairer sex, including machine gunner and rifleman. The Big Decision comes in 2015, when the Corps tells Congress whether or not women should (will?) join the infantry.
SOCOM welcomes the change! They’re happy to comply, you know, after they submit a USSOCOM-approved list of occupational specialties and positions open to women (by April 2015). “Concurrently, if required, request an exception to policy.”
In short, the services are on board with the move to integrate women into more danger close jobs within the Armed Services—just not the positions for which women aren’t qualified. Physically. And not the ones where the services can’t provide adequate facilities. Or am I reading this wrong and this is just more lip service in the service?