Any thoughts on "Women in combat report".

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by kevster, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Women, who make up some 14 percent of the armed forces, should finally be permitted to serve fully in front-line combat units, a military advisory panel says.

    The call by a commission of current and retired military officers to dismantle the last major area of discrimination in the armed services could set in motion another sea change in military culture as the armed forces, generations after racial barriers fell, grapples with the phasing out of the ban on gays serving openly.

    This latest move is being recommended by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by Congress two years ago. The panel was to send its proposals to Congress and President Barack Obama.
    It is time "to create a level playing field for all qualified service members," the members said Friday.

    Opponents of putting women in combat question whether they have the necessary strength and stamina. They also have said the inclusion of women in infantry and other combat units might harm unit cohesion, a similar argument to that made regarding gays. And they warn Americans won't tolerate large numbers of women coming home in body bags. Those arguments have held sway during previous attempts to lift the ban.

    Congress recently stripped the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly, and the Navy changed its rules over the last year to allow women to serve on submarines for the first time. Women are barred from certain combat assignments in all the services but face the broadest restrictions in the Army and Marines.

    Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and executive director of the advocacy group Service Women's Action Network, said the prohibition on women in combat "is archaic, it does not reflect the many sacrifices and contributions that women make in the military, and it ignores the reality of current war-fighting doctrine."

    Although thousands of American women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and been exposed to great danger — 134 of them have been killed — they have been largely restricted to combat support jobs such as medics or logistical and transportation officers.

    Defense policy prohibits women from being assigned to any unit smaller than a brigade whose primary mission is direct combat on the ground.
    The new report says that keeping women out of combat posts prohibits them from serving in roughly 10 percent of Marine Corps and Army occupational specialties and thus is a barrier to advancement.

    "The Armed Forces have not yet succeeded in developing leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve," said the report. "Minorities and women still lag behind white men in terms of number of military leadership positions."
    Of the roughly 2.2 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 255,000 have been women, said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez.

    Supporters of the change say women essentially have been in combat for years, even if they are nominally removed from it.
    "It's something whose time has come," said Lory Manning of the Women's Research and Education Institute. She said ending the ban would be "a logical outcome of what women have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Army and Marines have been essentially ducking the policy."
    She said, for example, that military officials have employed terms of art to skirt the ban, for example "attaching" women to a combat unit instead of "assigning" them.

    The new report says there has been little evidence that integrating women into previously closed units or military occupations has damaged cohesion or had other ill effects. It says a previous independent report suggested that women serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan "had a positive impact on mission accomplishment."

    Defense leaders have said they see the change coming someday. For example, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in September that he expects women to be let into special operations forces eventually, and in a careful, deliberate manner.

    The advisory commission recommends a phased-in approach. The Army is doing its own internal study of women in combat as well.
    Pentagon figures show that as of Jan. 3, 110 women had been killed in the war in Iraq compared with about 4,300 men. In the Afghanistan campaign, 24 women have been killed compared with more than 1,400 men.
    Lainez said the department will review the recommendations when the report is delivered.

    But regardless of what becomes of the policy, she noted that women will continue to be drawn into combat action, "situations for which they are fully trained and equipped to respond."
     
  2. kevster

    kevster Member

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    I would love to get thoughts from everyone on this new report. Bold face text are where I anticipate a debate.
     
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    No debate here! Having women in our front-line troops is a very, very good thing. The Russians and Isrealis have done this for years.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Actually Kevster you know that the AF has done this for decades. The minute women were allowed to fly fighters was the minute they served in combat.

    I also believe the Navy has female fighters. That is combat.

    Now, that stated, I do have issues with females serving in combat for ARmy and Marines compared to AF and Navy.

    AF and Navy are jets going into combat on front lines, not 10, 50, 100, etc going like Army and Marines.

    AF and Navy are not truly on the front lines, they may go into combat, but they return to their safety area. Army and Marines are in combat and there is no post they can retreat to in 2 hrs like the AF or Navy.

    I do not think it is a cohesion issue at all. The problem for women on the front lines comes from way broader issues.

    1. The wars we are fighting currently are in an area that women are not equals according to them. This is not a 21st Century conflict, because our opponents are still living in the 16th century. We are putting bulls eyes on them, all because they refuse to believe women are equals.

    This endangers the unit. Not to be vulgar, but it isn't hard to pick out the female if you are the opposition with binoculars and a scope on the gun over a ridge. Granted they would hit anyone, but if they believe that the infidels brought a woman to fight who is going to be their first target...him or her?

    2. Genetically we are different, and medically we have issues that occur frequently. Forward troops work and train as a unit, that is an issue they need to address if the unit is 10-20 people and in the middle of nowhere with min. supplies. They all have an impact on the mission.

    3. My pet peeve. I am 1000% in support of women serving in combat, BUT, I want to see that the military does it correctly.

    Women are allowed to pass a PT at a lower level. Last time I checked when it comes to war the enemy targets the slowest moving target, not the fastest.

    Soldiers never leave behind their brethren, that means they not only run behind and push that other soldier to move it, but will do everything in their world to carry them out.

    Want to play with the boys, than play with the boys. Do not ask to shoot from the ladies tee box, do not ask to not meet the min stds for men when it comes to running or carrying body weight.

    If you take the opinion that they should be allowed to have different stds from a physical aspect for combat, please PM me because I will send you pictures of my DH who served 20 yrs with 3 children and a wife, and a picture of my DS who is in the pipeline. Once you look at them and see them as people, and still believe as a woman you deserve to have that opportunity, I only hope you get why I am saying other families will be impacted if you only can play from the women's tee box.

    I do not want to hear about adrenaline as a defense, because the fact is men get that too. If ratios remain equal than the discrepancy in abilities will remain equal.

    Women should be allowed to serve in front lines, but only if it has addressed every issue. Until women must be at the stds of their male counterparts for the good of the services we need to keep it status quo.
     
  5. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Last time I checked, a 50-pound rucksack doesn't get any lighter depending on the gender of the bearer, either! If this is to work, the PFT standards in combat units have to be the same regardless of gender.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree, but that is not the way it is.

    Currently PFT has two sections...females and males.

    Now the waters are getting muddy without actually discussing combat.

    The female must carry that rucksack (for the 82nd it was 70 lbs not 50). She must run, lift and pass her PFT that is acceptable for females. She does not compete against males.

    She goes combat and is the only female. What if she has to carry out someone like Bullet... 5'11 and 190 lbs and she couldn't. buy she passed the PFT for females 5'9, 140lbs, because the std was lower how does that work in combat?


    Now take our DS, he is 5'9-10 142 lbs, same frame as her, but he is expected to perform higher than her in the PFT.

    Military members do not chose who their crew or team members are, so if it was your DS and he was like my youngest 6'3 240 lbs, would you not have fear for their safety if a 5'5 130 lb female who scored the max for females, but only the min for males had to drag them out of combat when they were injured? Or it was your DS that stayed with her because she was allowed to run slower than the guys?

    Like I have stated multiple times, I have no doubt a woman can beat our DS's PFT scores, but that isn't the system. I will relish the day we have the 1st female SEAL because it will break that glass ceiling. However, right now it appears that people think the means justify the ends, and that is not something I am willing to do when it comes to life and death.

    Combat is life and death.
     
  7. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    This sounds off to me. Americans don't tolerate other Americans coming home in body bags REGARDLESS of gender! What difference does it make if one man is killed opposed to one female? They are both Americans who can die in the line of duty and the death of one shouldn't affect us more than if the other had died.

    A little off-topic but: What does race have to do with this? The racial demographics of the military closely resembles the racial demographics of the country so it seems natural that minorities in the military leadership are scarce. Its different from women, because unlike females, minorities aren't denied "opportunities for advancement" since they are allowed in combat roles. I do not understand why minorities are thrown in an article about gender integration.

    I dont really see a problem with females in combat. Like Pima said, as long as we can make sure that their presence doesn't do anything to threaten the mission or other soldiers' lives. Its obviously tricky, but I think a solution can be found.

    I was also wondering - could romantic relationships between female and male soldiers hurt the military's performance? I know this was addressed before, but I am still curious of what the military would do with pregnancies, especially on the frontline? There's probably going to be a whole constitution of rules made before females enter combat roles. Lastly, wouldn't polling currently deployed troops about serving with females be a good idea to see if soldiers are willing to see such a thing happen?


    This is a great post - could you provide us the link for the article as well :smile:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    My position is the same for women, blacks, gays, catholics, short, tall, etc... Determine the realistic standards for a particular AFSC and for war time deployment. Make those standards "Standard". If a person "As in individual, not a gender, race, religion, etc..." can meet those standards, then they can be awarded that AFSC at both a peacetime and wartime environment. if they can't meet those standards, then they aren't awarded that AFSC. If people are going to debate differences in peacetime and wartime, then make it 2 separate AFSC's. That was a problem I had in my AFSC. Communications. I could work as Tac-Comm, FAC, Mob, etc...; but there were certain TDY's and/or deployments where a woman couldn't go or wasn't chosen. If the woman can't meet the standards and requirements for the wartime portion of the job I did, then she shouldn't be able to do that AFSC's job in a peacetime environment.

    So again; make the standards at the individual level. Don't have separate or different standards for different groups. Set the standards, make them "Standard", then, let "INDIVIDUALS" either meet those standards or not. It really is that simple.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Chockstock, the pregnancy issue for Marines and Army on the front lines is an issue because they may be forced into a new parameter of the medical care for each front line.

    Yes, soldiers get helo vac due to injury, but that is not something they plan when sending someone to the front line.

    A woman does not plan pregnancy, but it occurs, do we send a helo to medi-vac her and risk the crew of the helo to go into the front lines?

    Yes, Navy females get pregnant, but even if they are aircrew, they can return to the ship and get proper medical attention, morning, noon or night from a doctor in a sanitary environment without risking the mission.

    AS far as Kevsters ""Minorities and women still lag behind white men in terms of number of military leadership positions." point.

    It is easy to understand why for women at least, because just like the corporate world, women do get pregnant, some leave forever, and some for a short time. Meanwhile, the men who are not pregnant can still fly and do every job they did regarding combat that they did while she is removed from that, which hurts her career. Squadron deployed combat and she is pregnant, she stays behind while the others rack and stack combat missions, which play into their next promotion. ADO stateside just doesn't have the same weight as ADO with 20 combat missions for OIF.

    Patent, Israel to the last of my knowledge still is only fighting in Israel. What is the geographic size of Israel? NJ, maybe NY worst case scenario CA? Throw that aside, in the end they are still on their own turf, their own country, not on foreign soil 8 time zones away.

    I am with CC...standards should be set across the board, it is up to the individual to meet them.
     
  10. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Pima as usual you make several great points. I completely agree that if women are allowed to serve in a ground combat role there should be "genderless" PT test. However I think that this new test would take a LONG time to be implemented.

    The only part that bothers me is the part in the article where it says "It is time to create a level playing field for all qualified service members..."

    I guess the debate will revolve around the term "qualified." Often times in this PC world we live in it seems like we strive for equality for its own sake regardless of the consequences. The military is not a job corps where everyone should have an equal shot at every job. I certainly hope the military is not required to meet certain minority quotas. I'm ignorant of any "diversity policy" that the military may have so perhaps someone could enlighten me.

    In the end I'm in no way against minorities being given opportunities, I just dont want skill to be compromised for PC. If woman X meets the standards and Guy Y does not then I would want that women serving over the man. I, like Pima, am for women being allowed to serve in ground roles as long as its done properly.

    Cheers,

    Kevster
     
  11. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Oh and Pima thank you for the clarification regarding women pilots being in combat.....that completely slipped my mind.:thumb:
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Fun caveat. A lot of female fliers (and not!) who go to USAFA as AOCs for 2 years tend to get pregnant. I talked to a couple of them. They actually said it was a great opportunity for them, not just for leadership, but to be able to have children in an environment where it wouldn't hurt their careers and their pregnancy didn't affect their job. :)
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That is true. Women tend to plan out their pregnancies so they have the least amount of impact on their career, but sometimes there is no such thing as timing when it comes to getting pregnant.

    Timing is always going to be key for every one in the military. There will be those who can time a remote, and those who get "tag you are it!".

    Bullet got a tag you are it for the Green Zone(2-3 weeks notice when he was at the Pentagon), his DO was suppose to be a female. As they were in Kuwait, ready to deploy forward, 1 day prior, she came up and said "I am pregnant". She never made it to the green zone. The guy in the Green Zone had to wait for a replacement for her, and the guy who replaced her was not thrilled to be sent to Iraq.

    That is one of the major issues that needs to be addressed when we put women on the front line. DO we say to them if you want to serve combat on the front line you need to get a Depo shot or an implant to prevent pregnancies? Do we draw a line on how far they can go? I have no problem with either of those questions, just saying, the AF and Navy know where their front line is regarding combat. It appears to me that the Army and Marines need to address exactly what is "combat"
     
  14. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    Agreed (about the pregnancy thing, and the thing about AF/N having combat lines and A/MC not). I also think this came up the last time we had this discussion :shake:
     
  15. Idzak

    Idzak Member

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    Just recently saw "Band of Brothers" and cannot imagine female airborne.
     
  16. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    This isn’t one of those things that can be decided on a TV mini-series.
     
  17. jake s

    jake s USMA Cadet

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    :shake:

    well played futureAFA. well played....
     
  18. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    The Army actually is in the process of getting rid of the APFT, and I have heard it will not contain separate standards for men and women.
     
  19. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    They were doing that when I was a plebe, too. It's ten years later...and I have an APFT next month.
     
  20. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I was airborne -- many an airborne female can mercilessly embarrass any male "leg" (aka non-airborne) on the APFT. Actually, some of them even whooped me! (although . . . er . . . not on the APFT).
     

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