The days of Rambo are over (a quote from a special ops officer), but it could be years before GI Jane appears in some combat roles.
That’s a broad summary of plans to integrate women into previously closed combat positions. The plans were reviewed and released by the Department of Defense earlier this week.
Among the services, the Marines have the fewest women, only 6 percent, and therefore are taking a “slow and deliberate” pace to assess what combat positions should be opened to women according to NPR reporter Larry Abramson.
Abramson’s story examines how quickly the various branches are moving but the overall process is expected to take years.
Some women are worried that arbitrary barriers such as social concerns will pop up because there is resistance from small, elite teams reports Abramson.
But the special operations officer said that “combat isn’t about strength any longer.” Special Operations and other military are looking for smart qualified operators who can learn and speak foreign languages and understand culture. You can listen to the NPR story HERE.
The Stars and Stripes reports that as early as the end of this year the Navy may open up jobs to women in its Riverine Force’s small craft.
In the near future, the plans call primarily for study of institutional and cultural factors of putting women into units closed to them under the 1994 combat exclusion policy, which former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted in January.
In addition, a key step will be the establishment of gender-neutral physical and mental standards for each position, including infantry, artillery, armor and special operations forces.
The Army, which has hundreds of thousands of jobs in combat units closed to women, said in its plan that it would present gender-neutral standards to qualify for those positions during 2015.