Thursday, February 9, 2012

DoD expands role of women in combat arms units but not entirely

But probably not enough for most people's satisfaction. DoD put out this document to Congress today that opens over 14K positions to women that were previously male-only. DoD is Congress to let them:
1. Eliminate the co-location exclusion from the 1994 policy; 
2. As an exception to policy, allow Military Department Secretaries to assign women in open occupational specialties to select units and positions at the battalion level (for Army, Navy, and Marine Corps) whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground; 
3. Based on the exception to policy, assess the suitability and relevance of the direct ground combat unit assignment prohibition to inform future policy decisions; and 
4. Pursue the development of gender-neutral physical standards for occupational specialties closed due to physical requirements
A lot of people are asking why didn't DoD go all the way and allow women into every position? Why can't they explain why they chose this middle path? I talked about it before: selective service registration and potential drafts. Buried at the bottom of the document in a section called "Legal Analysis" they lay out that the elimination of the co-location exclusion won't force women to register for selective service - and this seems to be worded as a positive thing. I can't really blame DoD for not wanting to drive changes to the law and effectively force women to register for the draft and potential drafting. That is a significant change to social norms in the U.S. - even if they are outdated norms in many minds (including my own) - and DoD has little right to drive it. As unlikely as it is happen soon, that train needs to be driven by Congress not by defense functionaries - whether it's opening the draft to women or doing away with selective service altogether until we need it in order to kick the can down the road.


Post a Comment