Since 1901, women have been serving in some form of the military officially, however, women had an unofficial role dating back to the American Revolution. Traditionally women have not been allowed in combat occupations but recently these restrictions have been somewhat lifted, making certain combat occupations in most branches of the military available to women. Despite the lift complications arise from women being in combat occupations and it’s not just the physical differences, there is also the risk of sexual assault. Due to the detrimental impact on the military, soldiers, and society, women should not be allowed to be in combat occupations.
The Women's Armed Services Integration Act created in 1948 formed a force of women in all the military departments. This was considered a step in the right direction while also being responsible for current combat restrictions. The act while integrating women into the military also controlled the number of total female service members and formally excluded them from combat duties. The U.S. armed forces female soldiers increased in the “1980s and 1990s, from 8.5 percent to 11.1 percent” (Mackenzie).
The air force is now the most open service for females. “Women have been flying in combat aircrafts since 1993, and they now make up 70 of the 3,700 fighter pilots in the service” (Mackenzie). In January 1994, the “Secretary of Defense Les Aspin overturned the "risk rule" excluding females from any positions that could expose them to direct combat, hostile fire, or capture; the rule was replaced by the "direct ground combat assignment rule," which more narrowly tailored the restriction to frontline combat positions.” (Mackenzie) The problem with the recent policy changes are that the distinction between combat and support roles are unclear. A reorganization of the Army units along with an increase in brigade’s within divisions, in 2003, this arrangement of forward support companies, which provide logistical support, transportation, and maintenance to battalions, are now grouped together on the same bases as combat units. “Since women are permitted to serve in such support units, a major barrier designed to keep them away from combat has almost vanished. (Mackenzie)” Two arguments are that women are only at greater risk in combat jobs because there is a limited number of them, and the other argument for women, is that physically women are just as capable as their male counter parts. Despite the policy changes and the increase in combat exposure, women should not be allowed in combat occupations, due to the detrimental impact on the military, soldiers, and society.
There are 214,098 women serving in the U.S. military, this makes 14.6 percent of total service members. “Around 280,000 women have worn American uniforms in Afghanistan and Iraq, where 144 have died and over 600 have been injured. Hundreds of female soldiers have received a Combat Action Badge, awarded for actively engaging with a hostile...