Women in Combat Decision Expected by Year’s End

Defense Secretary Ash Carter will receive reports from military services on Oct. 1 detailing plans for integrating women into all combat roles, as well as any requests for exemptions to the integration, with a final decision expected by the end of the year. Carter told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Aug. 19 that department policy is to open all roles to women, though services can try to be exempted from that policy. The department has opened 110,000 combat roles to women and the goal is to have every role available, Carter said. The statement comes as the first two women finished the US Army Ranger School. The Air Force has six combat roles closed to women, all of which are attached to special operations groups that are male only. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has said the service is evaluating ways to open the remaining jobs to women. (See also Women in Combat from the August 2013 issue of Air Force Magazine.)