Last year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in a press conference that the Pentagon has ordered the military to open all positions to women, including combat jobs. Now in 2016, that is coming to fruition. All services have made the necessary requirements to their facilities to accommodate women, such as bathrooms, and will monitor training, injury assessments, and possible sexual harassment or assault problems.
The military services have already begun to recruit women for combat jobs in previously male-only Army and Marine Corps infantry units. It is predicted that only a small number of women will volunteer or get through the training courses, and even if 200 women move into combat jobs within the Marines, that would make up about 2 percent of the Marines in those occupants.
Last year, several hundred female Marines participated in a task force study on the impact of allowing women into combat jobs, and now those women are eligible to transfer immediately, as they have already completed and passed the training. Some have expressed interest in the jobs, but none have yet to formally request a transfer.
The Army intends to assign female officers to jobs in infantry and armor units, and then gradually bring in female enlisted soldiers – with at least one woman in each unit. Those first officers will start their training in June and could graduate as early as October and then move into ground combat units in May of 2017.
The military services plan to evaluate all recruits – men and women – to determine their ability to meet the difficult physical demands of the combat jobs and plan to regularly review and collect injury data to guide necessary training changes as needed.
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