Women In Combat Essay

2916 words - 12 pages

By: Jery Carr In this report, I will present the information I've discovered concerning whether allowing women to serve in combat units will reduce a units effectiveness. Women in today's military serve in more jobs and constitute the largest percent of women in the military they ever have. Four years ago women only made up 12 percent of the military, this has climbed from 1.6 percent in 1973 (Armed Forces and Society, 1996, p. 17). They also hold more jobs than ever before. In 1991, congress passed an amendment which allowed women to fly fixed wing and rotary wing combat aircraft in the military (Harvard International Review, 1992, 52). The military has also opened more combat support jobs in an effort get more women to join the military. Virtually every job is open to women in the military; infantry, submarines, and artillery are the only ones that are still off limits (Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 1996, p. 368). The only focus of my paper is whether there is still a need to ban women from direct combat. First, let me explain the distinction between combat support units and direct combat units. The military changed its definition of direct combat for women. This opened up more jobs for women that had been off-limits (Congressional Quarterly Researcher, 1992, p. 844). The performance of women in these positions was tested during the Gulf War. For the first time, American women flew combat missions and directly supported infantry units (Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, 1991, p. 200). Many times they were exposed to live fire, consequentially 13 were killed (Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 1992, p. 842). However, women were never considered to be in direct combat. The military's current combat exclusion policy states that women are prohibited from serving in positions that are "engaging an enemy with individual or crew-served weapons while being exposed to direct fire, a high probability or direct physical contact with the enemy's personnel, and a substantial risk of capture" (Law and Inequality, 1991, p. 6). Many people feel that this policy is discriminatory towards women and only perpetuates the view that they are not seen equally in the military (Luddy, 1992 as cited by Stencel, 1992, 836). This policy ensures the effectiveness of the combat unit, which brings me to my next definition. The effectiveness of a combat unit is measured by its ability "...in mobilizing, and deploying troops, effectiveness in battle measured by outcomes, mission accomplishment or the ratio of United States versus enemy killed and wounded in combat" (Glenn, 1991, as cited by Peach, 1991, p. 212). In this report, I will discuss five sub-topics. First, I will discuss the experience other nations have had with mixing men and women in combat. My next two sub-topics will compare men and women in two ways. I will start my second sub-topic by comparing men and women physically then comparing men and women psychologically. Then I will evaluate the health care...

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