The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By David Alexander and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Women can compete for all U.S. military jobs, including front-line combat posts, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday, overriding Marine Corps objections in a historic move to strike down gender barriers in the armed services.

“As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” Carter told a Pentagon news conference.

“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men,” he said.

Carter said the opening to women would take place following a 30-day waiting period required by law, after which women will be integrated into new roles in a “deliberate and methodical manner.”

During the waiting period, the military services will finalize plans for integrating women into the new positions, he said.

The move comes nearly three years after the Pentagon first eliminated its ban on women serving in front-line combat roles and began a process that would let women compete for 220,000 additional military jobs.

Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted a ban in force in 2013 on women in front-line combat roles, a restriction seen as increasingly out of place during a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan in which women were increasingly in harm’s way.

Women represented about 2 percent of U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, with some 300,000 deploying to the conflict zones.

Carter said most of the services favored opening all jobs to women, but the Marine Corps had sought a partial exception for roles such as infantry, machine gunner, fire support reconnaissance and others.

Carter said he considered the Marine Corps’ request and believed its concerns could be addressed with careful implementation of the decision.

“We are a joint force, and I have decided to make a decision which applies to the entire force,” he said.

Women already serve in combat roles for the armed forces of a few developed nations, including Canada and Israel, but officials say demand from women for such jobs in NATO nations is very low.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and David Alexander; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Tom Brown)

Photo: Then U.S. Army First Lieutenant Kirsten Griest (C) and fellow soldiers participate in combatives training during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, Georgia, in this handout photograph taken on April 20, 2015 and obtained on August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Spc. Nikayla Shodeen/U.S. Army/Handout via Reuters

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Photo by The White House

A Maryland anti-vaxxer is facing charges for threatening National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci over email-- going as far as to warn the face of America's COVID-19 response that he would be "hunted, captured, tortured and killed," among other things-- according to court documents that were unsealed on Tuesday.

According to the affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr. committed two violations-- threatening a federal official and sending interstate communication containing a threat to harm, both of which are felonies.

Keep reading... Show less
x

Close