Nearly five months after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that he would lift the ban on women military personnel serving in combat positions, the service branches said they are firming up their plans for implementing the controversial policy. The Associated Press reported that on June 18, the heads of the services laid out a blueprint that will phase women into fighting units and even special operations, with the Army Rangers beginning to train females by this time next year, and the Navy SEALS a year later.
AP reported that the plans include a review and possible change of the physical and mental standards men and women must meet to qualify for infantry, armor, commando, and other front-line fighting positions across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Under the plan, Defense officials said, there would be one common standard for both men and women. “The proposals leave the door open for continued exclusion of women from some jobs if research and testing find that women could not be successful in sufficient numbers,” reported AP. “But the services would have to defend such decisions to top Pentagon leaders.”
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, pointed out to One News Now that continuing with a high standard for combat was not what was being discussed earlier this year. “General Martin Dempsey ... said in January that all standards will be questioned if they are 'so high that a women couldn't make it,' using his words,” Donnelly recalled. She emphasized, however, that the “all-male units that we're talking about today should remain all-male — that's the only way to keep those standards high and commensurate with the demands of direct ground combat.”
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