As noted widely throughout the press, Army 1 st Lieutenant Ashley White died on 22 October in Kandahar when the joint special operations task force to which she was attached triggered an IED. In a press release, U. Her efforts highlight both the importance and necessity of women on the battlefield today. Despite the public praise and emphasis on the value of women on the battlefield, the fact remains that Ashley White should not have been in the company of that particular assault force on that day in Kandahar. In fact, unless U. Forces-Afghanistan USFOR-A had granted an exception specifically for White to be assigned to that particular ground unit, she should not have been there at all.
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As noted widely throughout the press, Army 1 st Lieutenant Ashley White died on 22 October in Kandahar when the joint special operations task force to which she was attached triggered an IED. In a press release, U. Her efforts highlight both the importance and necessity of women on the battlefield today. Despite the public praise and emphasis on the value of women on the battlefield, the fact remains that Ashley White should not have been in the company of that particular assault force on that day in Kandahar.
In fact, unless U. Forces-Afghanistan USFOR-A had granted an exception specifically for White to be assigned to that particular ground unit, she should not have been there at all.
The rule excluded women from non-combat units or missions if the risks of exposure to direct combat, hostile fire, or capture were equal to or greater than the risk in the combat units they supported. Based on the experiences of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, DoD concluded that everyone in theater was at risk and thus a risk-based policy was no longer appropriate.
The rationale for these restrictions at the time was that there was no military need for women in ground combat positions because an adequate number of men were available. Of course, the logic of combat exclusion policies, as currently written, turns on the conceptualization of the battlefield as a linear environment. Because the modern battlefield in increasingly non-linear and fluid, these policies are nearly impossible to apply, particularly in COIN environments that lack a well-defined forward area, such as Afghanistan.
This fact was most recently noted by the March report by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission. Commander, U. Current plans are consistent with these statements - the third group of CST women is about to begin training, and the tentative plan is to have 25 permanent Army CST teams by Lumpkin noted that "We're coming late to the table, but we've recognized the value of the program , and I think this will transcend beyond Afghanistan.
I don't see them going away any time soon. Our conventional force leadership clearly agrees. Most people are familiar with the equity-based arguments against combat exclusion policies. Soldiers have served and are currently serving in dangerous roles. Some have been killed and maimed. These women are on the front lines in very austere locations. The merit of this service would provide women with a greater opportunity for promotion into the senior ranks, specifically general officer levels.
While such equity-based lines of argument obviously have merit, they are usually consumed by the politics of gender and are dismissed before serious debate has time to emerge.
Numerous defense officials have cited the tremendous stress placed upon our all-volunteer force by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. By allowing women to serve in all roles, changes in combat exclusion policies would provide commanders at all levels the much needed flexibility to employ all of his or her resources to achieve operational objectives and reduce stress on the force. The results of such a trial effort could then be taken into account as we try to find intelligent ways to cut our current force structure and build our future forces.
Additional studies that focus on the operational imperatives for the integration of women into combat arms positions and the impact this would have on our force structure would be very useful. In , the repeal of a Dutch law led to the integration of the Dutch military, with no formal restrictions on women serving combat duty. Other countries where women are able to serve in more active combat roles include Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland.
In light of these events, rescinding or changing our combat exclusion policies makes sense because it will help all key players: ISAF, the U. Armed Forces writ large, battle space owners, and female soldiers. The Armed Forces will be able to use their current resources women to fill the gaps in areas affected by force reduction; women earn equal recognition, combat credit and greater opportunity to obtain senior level promotions; and commanders are no longer limited on how they have greater flexibility to employ their internal resources.
Direct ground combat takes place well forward on the battlefield while locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire, maneuver, or shock effect. General Accounting Office, October , p. Fifteen percent of West Point undergraduates are women, yet these potential leaders are precluded from career advancement due to their lack of combat experience is a discriminator. This is a step in the right direction. I have not seen a reply Did you not consider this area? Or is it too shocking?
Or is it that you will never have to do it? Well it is what happens on patrols that last more than 12 hours. You say I am emotional? Maybe I am. You see when if I screw up people die, if I do everything right they still might die. That being said I want every advantage I can get. Is that what work is like for you and the MAJ? One more thing. You didn't talk about Soldiers getting pregnate. It happens. I am NOT laying blame on anyone for it. But here is the deal: You will not get a replacement.
You will not have that Soldier for deployment or she will not be available for train-up for the next deployment. If a troop in a Finace unit gets pregnate, she can continue to do her job in garrison.
If you have a female troop get pregnate troop you better figure on not having them for 12 MONTHS, and thats if all goes well. If Suzy is a private, you will not get a replacement.
A rifle squad at this time is 9 troops. This is too small in my opinion, but that is another conversation so the squad deploys shorthanded. This means everyone has to cover down to accomplish the mission. Everyone has to carry a little more, sleep a little less etc.
They haven't been in their first contact and they are already short. And we are usually already short, from injuries, lack of replacements etc. Heres another thing. PVT Suzy shows up to her first unit. A month later she learns she is pregnate. She can't do Infantry stuff for a year, but she is smart so she takes classes etc. With promotion points so low she makes SGT in two years But she only has half the experiance of the rest because she didn't get time to do all the positions within the platoon.
If Suzy is a junior leader, you will not get a replacement. So troops deploy without their leader. So the unit deploys shorthanded. Lets say Suzy is a fire team leader For a fire team this just about makes it combat in-effective And they haven't been in their first firefight yet Let us also say it is her and her fire teams first first deployment, but she missed it.
Suzy resumes her role as the element leader. Do you really think those troops are going to listen to much of what she has to say? If it was a man it would be the same way. You might be God's gift to the Army but that dosn't matter because you haven't "seen the elephant" and it dosn't matter what rank your are either.
This is accross the Army and not just a combat arms thing either. In a time of peace maybe it will be less important, but for now it isn't that way. Now I have mostly talked about enlisted here but now lets talk about officers.
Officers have a certain amount of time to do certain things in their paths. When a LT gets to his first unit he is made a PL for 12 or so months, if very lucky 18 months Sometimes more, sometimes less.
If he is good to go, maybe he gets a second specialty platoon. What if LT Suzy reports to her unit and a month later finds out she is pregnate? She can't be the PL though she might be left on the books as one for the train up. They return 12 months later.
Suzy has missed her chance to be a PL Yeah there is a little more leeway when it come time to become a Company Commander because officers spend some time as CPT's so a pregnacy could be worked around. But what if she gets a company only to have to give it up because shes having a kiddo? But miss that PL time and she is screwed unless maybe her daddy is a general Here is another thing. Well I guess I shouldn't say that, who know what the hell they will do, but they shouldn't.
And this isn't because they are woman either. The Infantry is already having to deal with problems with non-Infantry commanders not understanding how to properly use them. SOF might even have it a bit worse. Now lets talk about some things that don't get talked about at cocktail parties, that you and higher either never thought of or refused to consider Do you think after a 20 hour patrol, I am going to remember to knock to ensure my female PL is clothed?
Combat Exclusion Policy
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AR 600-13 Army Policy for the Assignment of Female Soldiers
The direct ground combat exclusion rule of the United States Armed Forces , commonly referred as Combat Exclusion Policy , dates back to when the Women's Armed Services Integration Act excluded women from combat positions. On April 28, , combat exclusion was lifted from aviation positions by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin , permitting women to serve in almost any aviation capacity. Service members are eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they are qualified, except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground. In , a commission headed by Lester L. Lyles , a retired Air Force general, recommended eliminating the policy, calling it a hindrance to promotion. In February , a review of Pentagon policies resulted in the lifting of restrictions on 14, military positions.
Biblical Equality Principle The American Army Regulation 600-13