The military has began to recruit women for combat jobs. Navy SEALs, Army and Marine Corps will allow females into infantry by this fall. This is of course according to the plans by Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
Many within the branches of the military feel that it will be a small number of women that will volunteer or make it through training courses. The Marine Corps estimates that about 200 women a year will move into ground combat jobs. U.S. Special Operations Command also expects a small number of volunteers.
The Navy is collecting submission package as we speak, from prospective SEAL candidates. They could see women in entry level enlisted and officer training by fall.
All branches have said to have made the required changes to base bathrooms and other facilities. They will also monitor training, injury assessments and of course sexual harassment or assault problems.
Carter is expected to sign a memo in the coming days telling the military in a whole to begin executing the plans next month. This will be ground breaking and also historical for military women.
Army and Marine Corps generals, spoke with senators, last month. It will take up to three years to fully integrate women into combat jobs. They also reiterated the fact that they will not lower their standards or bow to the pressure of quotas to get more women into the very grueling infantry jobs.
December of last year Carter ordered all jobs to be open to women. The Marine Corps initially sought to keep certain infantry jobs closed to women. This is due to studies showing combined gender units are not as effective as male only units. Carter rejected the proposal.
The Marine Corps, stated having about 200 women, moving into combat jobs per year would mean they make up 2 percent of the Marines, in those occupations. As of now no women have made it through Marine infantry officer course. It is recognized that there will be small number, services are prepared to handle such situations.
1 year ago female Marines participated in a task force studying the impact of women in combat jobs. Women who were in the program can transfer to combat jobs immediately being the training has been completed. A few female Marines, have expressed interest however, none have transferred.
The Army, will assign officers, to jobs in infantry. Gradually bringing in female enlisted soldiers. Officers will begin training in June, and most likely will be done (graduated) by fall. Females wouldn’t begin to move into ground units until May of 2017.
The Air Force, will not assign women to combat groups or units, it will follow routine procedures. Most male only units are in the Army and Marine Corps, only a few Navy and Air Force units exclude women. Those are special operations related jobs.
Military services plan to carefully evaluate recruits. This includes new types of testing, that helps predict whether man or woman, has the ability to meet the difficult physical demands of combat jobs. Plans are also in affect to regularly collect injury data which will help guide training and other changes.
Isaac J. Hall II