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Old 23 January 2013, 10:40 PM
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Military Pentagon Lifting Ban on Women in Combat

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is lifting the military’s ban on women in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/us...in-combat.html
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  #2  
Old 24 January 2013, 12:33 AM
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It's not clear to me what exactly lifting the ban really means as far as opening various MOSs/NECs/branches/designators/what-have-yous to women (or not?). I'm going to class this right up there with "the end of combat operations" in Iraq in terms of actual bearing on reality, at least for now. It might not mean what you think it means.

Nowhere in that article (and presumably in the SECDEF's statement) did it seem to explicitly state that infantry, armor, or special warfare-type jobs would absolutely in all cases be opened to women, for instance. It may yet prove that as they endeavor to "[validate] occupational and performance standards... for all military occupational specialties" they come up with the status quo, for instance (quoting from General Dempsey's letter to the SECDEF).

He even gives himself an "out", as I read it, by stating "if we find that the assignment of women to a specific position or occupational specialty is in conflict with our stated principles, we will request an exception to policy."

But while I'm posting, I'd like to touch on an erroneous claim made in the NY Times article:
Quote:
Serving in combat positions like the infantry remains crucial to career advancement in the military, and women have long said that by not recognizing their real service the military has unfairly held them back.
Erroneous because serving in infantry roles is only crucial for the advancement of those with... an infantry MOS. Can't speak for the Army, but in the Navy restricted line and staff corps jobs very often promote at a faster rate than those jobs that you would consider "combat arms-ish" (because combat arms isn’t really a Navy term). You'd be amazed how good of a job the military bureaucracy manages to do insulating promotion and advancement opportunities from operational performance, even after over a decade of war.

Bottom line, someone with a logistics MOS isn't going to have their advancement helped by being an infantry officer. In fact they couldn't possibly be an infantry officer by definition, not having an infantry MOS. And just because infantry might have greater odds of participating in combat operations against an opposing armed force doesn't mean that they will necessarily be promoted faster or more often than someone working in logistics, for instance. Again, talking about the Navy because it's what I know, unrestricted line promotions are 100% decoupled from restricted line and staff corps promotions: basically each year the Navy says "we’re going to promote X% of URL officer, Y% of Human Resources Officers, Z% of Engineering Duty Officers, K% of Medical Staff Corps Officers, etc..." So at no point does an unrestricted line officer (which includes SEALs, Surface Warfare Officers, Submariners, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Officers, Pilots, and Naval Flight Officers) compete with, say, a Supply Officer for promotion. Wouldn’t be overly surprised if the Army and the Marine Corps did things similarly.
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Old 24 January 2013, 01:19 AM
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I don't know the accuracy, but I believe that the statement is referring to a glass ceiling effect, not an overall slower promotion rate. Where do Generals and Admirals get promoted from? Probably not people who spent their careers as a Supply Officer, right?
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Old 24 January 2013, 02:02 AM
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Depends on the type of admiral or general, specifically the type of organization they are in charge of. There are supply corps admirals. And medical corps admirals. And Engineering Duty Officer admirals. Admirals come in many flavors. Same goes with generals.
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Old 24 January 2013, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I don't know the accuracy, but I believe that the statement is referring to a glass ceiling effect, not an overall slower promotion rate. Where do Generals and Admirals get promoted from? Probably not people who spent their careers as a Supply Officer, right?
That's is exactly what they're talking about. Can you name a major general who did not come from combat arms?

Petrarus Infantry

Colin Powell - I believe was infantry as well

Norman S - Infantry

Tommy Franks - Starting as MI, but as an officer was combat arms.

I can not think of a major command position that was given to a non-combat arms position. Sure, there may be some desk generals but those slots are few and far between. They also don't capture the respect as being in charge of winning the war.

Personally I am interested to see what happens. I see it being a huge cluster but if done right it will be a very good thing. I think we should talk to our allies who already allow it and model our program off theirs.
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Old 24 January 2013, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wintermute View Post
That's is exactly what they're talking about.
I don't think it is. I suspect that the females the NY Times thinks they're referring to were arguing not over whether or not they could serve as infantry or in the combat arms and have a shot at Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff, but whether or not they could serve as, say, the Battalion S-4 (logistics officer) or S-2 (intelligence officer) for example for an infantry battalion, which would be more likely to be deployed to a combat environment and more likely to be career enhancing than stateside duty depending on how the Army writes its promotion board precepts. Perhaps a subtle difference to you, but really it's a very key difference because that decision (to allow women to fill those roles) was already made last year if I understand correctly.

Quote:
Can you name a major general who did not come from combat arms?
I can name several:

1) Major General Michael G. Dana
2) Major General Tracy L. Garrett
3) Major General Charles L. Hudson
4) Major General Darrell L. Moore
5) Major General Angela Salinas

And that's just a not all inclusive sampling of Marine Corps Major Generals! (And yes, I know that's not what you meant by "major general" I still couldn't resist listing a bunch of "Major Generals", all in good fun I assure you).

Quote:
I can not think of a major command position that was given to a non-combat arms position. Sure, there may be some desk generals but those slots are few and far between. They also don't capture the respect as being in charge of winning the war.
True. Your service chiefs and your geographic combatant commanders will come from "combat arms" (to continue to use an Army term) or their service's rough equivalent. But there are other paths to 4-star positions and at the end of the day, I really really doubt that's what the lawsuit was about. Again, I suspect it's more along the lines of "certain units with combat-support and combat service support billets are more likely to deploy to conduct career-enhancing operations than others, but women are not allowed to fill those combat support and combat service support jobs within those units" and I don’t think that's what is being addressed by the SECDEF's latest decision because I think that was already addressed back in May.

In short, I think the NY Times is crossing idea streams and confusing terms.

With that out of the way, please pardon me as I pick a nit: all generals are desk generals. The Commander of US Central Command, the geographic combatant command responsible for both Iraq and Afghanistan, is headquartered out of Tampastan (Tampa, Florida that is). I cringed when the writers for Family Guy tried to make Lauren Conrad (Brian’s girlfriend in one episode) seem highly intelligent by having her refer to Admiral Spruance as “primarily a desk admiral” while lecturing Brian on his performance at Midway. He was as much a desk admiral being in charge of cruisers and destroyers as Halsey or any other aviation-trained admiral was being in charge of a carrier task force. They're all commanded from ships and all ships have desks. All admirals (and generals) spend a good bit of time behind said desks, whether those desks are in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, the Pentagon, or some ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Last edited by ASL; 24 January 2013 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 24 January 2013, 02:17 PM
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Does this change anything with regards to women and enrolling in the draft?
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Old 24 January 2013, 02:25 PM
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Not automatically, but it might influence discussions of whether women should be required to register (assuming there are any such discussions).
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Old 24 January 2013, 02:31 PM
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Very possibly it could. In Rostker v. Goldberg, SCOTUS said that male-only selective service was constitutional because it was for combat soldiers and only men could be combat soldiers.

Quote:
And since women are excluded from combat service by statute or military policy, men and women are simply not similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft, and Congress' decision to authorize the registration of only men therefore does not violate the Due Process Clause.
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