Thursday, January 24, 2013

Women in Combat

There are a lot of issues here - a Pandora's box of issues in fact. Even if all physical challenges were alleviated through job specific standards, there is still the issue of unit cohesion. But that concept was ridiculed, and dismissed with the repeal of DADT. Ultimately, this goes more to men's and women's roles in society than simply providing equal opportunity for women in the service. This is the most important question, but the discussion will never get that far. It will stay mired in physical abilities and sexist scenarios that undermine the real issues.

There's much, much more to say on this topic - such as whether there should be job specific standards (problematic since they could also provide an excuse to those who don't want to do a particular MOS), whether it is fair for women to have the option of combat jobs when men do not (extend this to Selective Service registration also), and long term effects on women's health and their ability to succeed under such conditions (see commentary by female Marine Capt Petronio - combat engineer), and what should be at the heart of the issue -military effectiveness.

Finally, it isn't clear if physical standards will change, or exactly what jobs will now be open. True, women are already on the front lines in various capacities, so from my perspective I'd like to know a lot more about the specifics of the change, and I would really appreciate it if our lawmakers would think through these things before implementation rather than constantly dealing with unintended consequences.

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