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Women In The Military: The Combat Exclusion Law

1304 words - 5 pages

The question originally posed in the Combat Exclusion Law, regarding placement of females in combat, continues to be debated as women are placed in combat roles without adequate training (Sanchez, 2011). What distinguishes some positions as being acceptable while others are not? Who has the authority to approve exceptions, and what exceptions have been made? On May 13, 2011, a bill placed before the House of Representatives addressed the issue to “repeal the ground combat exclusion policy for female members” (Sanchez, 2011, p. 1).
Political Issues or Influences
In 1973, women began to grow in numbers in the 'All-Volunteer Force' implemented under President Nixon. “In February 1988, Department of Defense (DoD) codified the Combat Exclusion Policy by adopting the ‘Risk Rule’” (Keenan, 2008, pp. 21, 22). The Risk Rule excluded woman from those assignments that placed them at risk of harm such as: “direct combat, hostile fire, or being captured” (Keenan, 2008, p. 22). The change of the feminine role in the civilian population has forced a review of their presence in the Armed Forces. As women have begun to establish their intellectual and physical ability, they have demonstrated their equality in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) (Baker II, 2006) encouraging congress to again consider placement of women in combat. These roles were reviewed after the onset of the Exclusion Law in “1967 when the statutory strengths and grade limitations were lifted” (Ferber, 1987, p. 4) as well as in 1978 when positions available to women were expanded (Ferber, 1987). In 1992 and 1993 when the “Defense Authorization Acts were implemented, congress revoked the prohibition of women’s assignments to combat aircraft… and in January 1994 the ‘Risk Rule’ was rescinded” (Keenan, 2008, p. 22). With the 1994 change in the “Risk Rule”, assignments were available for females in all services to participate in all available positions. Exceptions of “assignments to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat” (Keenan, 2008, p. 22) were put in place.
H.R. 1928 sought to title the bill “Women’s Fair and Equal right to Military Service Act” (Sanchez, 2011, p. 1) as more than 250,000 females had already been deployed to combat zones in the Middle East. As of May 2011,137 females had lost their lives while in combat (Sanchez, 2011). As women continue to work side by side with men, the case of equal placement continues. Contrary to that argument is the power to care for family members, specifically the children and how they are affected when their mother goes into battle.
Additional Policies that were a Result or Outcome
of Combat Exclusion Law
Upon the acceptance of the Combat Exclusion Law, each military service was to define their policies to determine where females could and could not serve. What this means to the Army in particular is that “all jobs except those having the highest probability of...

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