Thursday, December 3, 2015

U.S. Defense Secretary Opens All Combat Jobs to Women

     Today, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced that the Pentagon will open all combat jobs to women and that, “there will be no exceptions.” This means that the 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles has been overturned. Women will now be eligible to join the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. Of course, they still will have to pass the tests and meet the standards for each division.

     However, this is not a random occurrence. In fact, it was put off as long as possible being that it is December 2015. Three years ago, President Obama promised to integrate women into all combat jobs by 2016. All divisions have 30 days from today to prepare for integration.

     The U.S. Marines requested an exemption from this change, due to the fact that they segregate recruits by gender for basic training and are 93% male. In the video above, Carter rejects their request, arguing that all parts of the military should operate under the same standards. Carter claims: “when I became secretary of defense, I made a commitment to building America’s force of the future. In the 21st century that requires drawing strength from the broadest possible pool of talent. This includes women.”

     Although a great decision towards gender equality in the military, simply opening combat roles to women will not create a fully integrated military. In September, the Marines released a $36 million study that found that integrated combat units were "slower, fired weapons with less accuracy and had more injuries."

     President Obama defends Secretary Carter, stating: "together, we're going to make sure our military remains the finest fighting force in the history of the world, worthy of all our patriots who serve — men and women."

What is your opinion on the following questions:
     - Do you think that the Marines had the right to be exempt? Do you think there is there any possible reason for exemption?
     - Were you previously aware of this 1994 Pentagon rule? If not, why do you think this was not well known?
     - Do you think the $36 million study is accurate? Is this a valid reason to not have integrated units?

New York Times (Video):
Washington Post (Video):
NBC News (Video):
CNN (Video):
Reuters (Video):
YouTube Video:


Maggie Yeung said...

I was aware that women were restricted from certain aspects of the military, but I was not aware of the extent of the 1994 Pentagon rule. This could just be because nowadays, the military has become less segregated in terms of sex, making this issue less apparent. I acknowledge that biologically, men tend to be physically stronger than women but I don't think that the Marines have the right to be exempt. There are standards for physical fitness that everyone must meet to pass basic training and other stages of training, and so women should get the chance to at least attempt to pass, and not be barred from even trying.

On a similar note, I also just read an article saying that the US Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit is going to hear a case, National Coalition for Men vs. the Selective Service System, to determine whether women should be required to sign up for the Selective Service System for the US draft, if a draft ever become necessary in wartime. Currently, "Under the Military Selective Service Act, males must register 30 days after their 18th birthday with the Selective Service System, which could call upon them for compulsory military service in a time of war. They must stay registered until their 26th birthday" ( I think these two events are independent from each other and coincidentally are occurring at similar times, but I think this is related enough to be addressed. I personally believe that women should be required to sign up along with men but what do you think?

Daniel Jun said...

Okay. Yes, anyone who is either not a sexist or realizes that going against this movement will mean being labeled a sexist, will say this is a positive step towards equality for America.

And all I have to say is, yes. Yes, this is a good step towards equality. Of course, this also invites rape. I'm tired of people saying "oh, let's give everyone equal opportunity" without bothering to take into account the possible dangers of implementing said equality. The fact of the matter is that giving women roles in combat will only increase the number of rape victims in the US military! Maybe before we open up the candy bar of sexual equality, we should finish eating the candy bar known as STOPPING THE RAMPANT PROBLEM THAT IS UNWANTED SEXUAL CONDUCT IN THE US MILITARY.

Is it worth it? Is it worth it to be given the right to join the military at the extreme risk of suffering rape or other horrible crimes? I'm not saying this equality is a bad thing. But maybe we should fix the mindset of the male soldiers before allowing in more potential female ones.

I believe firmly in meritocracy (if a woman is able to meet all the requirements of a marine and has proven her loyalty and ability as any male marine would have had to, then there should be no discrimination against any party) and that barring people from joining boot camp solely because of gender is inherently wrong. But at the same time, I don't want a military in which rape becomes tacitly acceptable.

Christopher Griffis said...

This is definitely a step towards complete gender equality as it allows the same opportunities for men and women in the military/ combat units. However I doubt that this will actually make these units more equal in percentages as women and men are genetically different. Although there are definitely some women (Ronda Rousy don't hurt me) who are capable of passing the taxing tests to become a Navy SEAL or any other high level unit, the genetic limitation will prevent these units from having a near 50/50 statistic.

I think Maggie brought up an interesting point about the draft as technically it is sexist to only have males register; Although I personally don't have an opinion on this matter, I am curious to see the changes that may or may not happen. Additionally, Daniel brought up rape in the military. I would not go as far as to say that this lift in policy would increase rape, although definitely a serious problem, I would generalize it more as there being an increase in sexual assault due to the increase in women. I have heard that sexual assault in the armed forces is often also under reported due to negative implications and effects that happen to these women. However this change will hopefully start to empower women who are assaulted as more and more females become accepted into the military.

Additionally I think that this change has come a little late/ might be moot as the world has already started moving toward drone and unmanned warfare. Albeit we are probably never going to have fully unmanned warfare, warfare has evolved out of simple army battles and more toward targeted strikes. Not only, we have much less war in general as society has evolved into fighting wars with diplomacy.

Ryan Swan said...

I was aware of the 1994 Pentagon Rule prior to reading this blog. Personally I believe that the military did have the right to exempt women from the 1994 pentagon rule. The military may have some relevant reasons for exemption. Some of these possibly being that women are just as capable as men are in regards to the training for said position. Of course, and I say this as a scientifically proven fact, that men are physically stronger than women. I only say this to propose a possible reason for why women were not allowed to take on certain positions in the military prior to the overturning of the Pentagon rule. In regards to the $36 million study, if it truly cost that much money, it better be accurate! Although there is the possibility of error and false data. Yet I highly doubt those factors would have any effect on the study considering the study involves the U.S. military. In addition, perhaps this study is decent evidence justifying why there should not be integrated units. In order to protect our troops from any further harm, maybe integrated units would be better off avoided.

Brianna Panozzo said...

I was not aware of the 1994 rule since (and the NY times article also claims this) women HAVE been put in combat roles since this rule was passed. That is probably why it isn't well known- it isn't very strictly followed obviously,

I don't think that the marines had a valid reason to be exempt. If their excuse is that the marine organization did not incorporate both genders initially, then honestly it shouldn't be that difficult to reorganize. That doesn't seem like a really huge obstacle and asking to be exempt is kind of sexist since it seems like they don't want to deal with training men and women together, like they both aren't training for the same thing? If it's a physical problem, then just have slightly different physical expectations for males and females. That shouldn’t be a huge deal.

I doubt the validity of the $36 million dollar study since it could so easily be biased by these people who are so against integration of women into the military. Of course their results would be vague and support their opinion. In conclusion, I think that study tells us very little about the true efficiency of integrated army groups.

I was just thinking about this subject the other day when Mr. Silton was discussing war drafts and how trusted the military is. I was wondering if anyone could venture a guess on what would happen if the US was going into a war and needed to make another draft today. Would they draft women as well as men or just make it optional for women to fight? Is making a potential mandatory draft male-only sexist?

Jared Mayerson said...

Thank you all for your comments! I agree with you Maggie: we cannot have partial equality, in my opinion everyone should be required to sign up for the draft. Daniel, you bring up a good point. However, do you think that with more women involved in the military that unwanted sexual conduct will decrease at the same time? Women will no longer be outnumbered and can fight back against current ignorance regarding that issue. Chris, that's true that it won't bring about a 50/50 ratio for each unit but I think the important part is that one is allowed now. In less than a month, women can try to enter any part of the military and, just like men, not everyone will make the cut. Brianna and Ryan, I found it interesting that you both had different interpretations of the $36 million study. I actually agreed with Brianna because, although it should be accurate if it costs that much money, I feel like they could have spent that much money to skew the data. What do you guys think?