For the first time in U.S. military history, all military occupations and positions will be open to women, Defense Secretary Ash carter announced on Dec. 3. President Barack Obama commended the decision, calling it another historic step forward.
All women will be able to work in Pentagon with no barriers. “They’ll be able to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and green berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that were previously open only to men,” Secretary Carter said in his announcement.
The secretary noted that women make 50 percent of the American population. “To succeed in our mission of national defense, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talents and skills. We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards,” Carter said further.
The secretary added that entering combat roles for women will not be entirely voluntary. They would also be assigned to missions, tasks, and functions according to the operation’s needs. They are going to be subjected to the same standards, rules, qualifications and specific requirements their male counterparts have.
The president compared the move to the desegregation made when the government allowed gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly in military roles. He said that the decision made the nation’s military stronger, and that is what will also happen with the Pentagon’s decision to welcome women in combat. “As Commander in Chief, I know that this change, like others before it, will again make our military even stronger. Our armed forces will draw on an even wider pool of talent,” Mr. Obama said.
He noted the work done by women in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Our courageous women in uniform have served with honor, on the front lines and some have given their lives,” the president said. The decision to welcome women in all military roles will “make sure our military remains the finest fighting force in the history of the world. Worthy of all our patriots who serve, men and women,” the president said.