AP: Secretary Panetta Lifts the Ban on Women in Combat

Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta

Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta

The Associated Press is reporting that Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat. The move opens hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs to women in the military

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.

The Defense Secretary was sued last year by four women in the military and the American Civil Liberties Union who claimed the exclusion of women from combat positions was unconstitutional.

NPR reports that the ACLU website  published a post from one of the plaintiffs, Major Mary Jennings Hegar, who has been deployed twice to Afghanistan.

She tells the story of being shot at in a helicopter while trying to rescue a fellow soldier and concludes:

“If there is one thing I’ve learned about the differences between us all throughout my years of service, it’s this: putting the right person in the right job has very little to do with one’s gender, race, religion, or other demographic descriptor. It has everything to do with one’s heart, character, ability, determination and dedication.

“That’s the problem with the military’s combat exclusion policy. It makes it that much harder for people to see someone’s abilities, and instead reinforces stereotypes about gender.

Emailer Who Exposed Petraeus Affair Calls for Privacy Laws

Credit Amy Scherzer / Tampa Bay Times. Gen. David Petraeus, left, Scott and Jill Kelley and Holly Petraeus watch the 2010 Gasparilla parade from the Kelleys’ front lawn.

Credit Amy Scherzer / Tampa Bay Times. Gen. David Petraeus, left, Scott and Jill Kelley and Holly Petraeus watch the 2010 Gasparilla parade from the Kelleys’ front lawn.

The Tampa socialite, who exposed the affair of CIA Director David Petraeus forcing him to resign, is calling upon Congress to restrict access to private email accounts.

Jill Kelley and her husband, Dr. Scott Kelley, wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post calling for Congress to safeguard privacy as they consider Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The Kelley’s wrote in their op-ed:

Our family committed no crime and sought no publicity. We simply appealed for help after receiving anonymous e-mails with threats of blackmail and extortion … Unfortunately, reaching out to an FBI agent whose acquaintance we had made resulted in slanderous allegations.

Jill Kelley initially asked the government for help when she received threatening anonymous emails. The FBI investigated. It found the anonymous emails came from Petraeus’ official biographer, Paula Broadwell.

But, the FBI did not stop there. They examined Kelley’s correspondence with Marine Gen. John Allen, currently the top commander in Afghanistan. The emails were reported to number in the thousands, but those numbers have since been refuted.

No criminal wrongdoing was found, but the FBI handed over its investigation of Allen to the Department of Defense Inspector General.

On Tuesday, the IG cleared Gen. Allen of any inappropriate conduct or emails. However, his promotion to commander of NATO forces and the European Command was put on hold and there’s no word if his nomination hearings will be rescheduled.

%d bloggers like this: