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Joint Chiefs Looking to Lower Combat Standards
Now that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decreed that women may not be excluded from front line combat positions, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey ordered a review of the standards applied to personnel in these positions. Dempsey's order specifically requires all commanders to justify any minimum standards that would tend to disproportionately impact women.
“As it stands now, many of the physical requirements imposed on combat troops are beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of female soldiers,” Dempsey said. “This makes the standards inherently discriminatory and denies these female soldiers equal rights. The Commander-in-Chief has made it clear that it is his policy to have an army that looks like America. Regulations must be revised to accommodate this goal.” "What we need is a combat-ready battalions of women on PMS."
While acknowledging that “women might lack the physical strength to lug wounded comrades to safety,” Dempsey contended that “these deficiencies might be more than compensated by women's greater skills in nurturing those who are injured and frightened. Many grievously wounded soldiers' final thoughts are of their mothers or wives. The presence of female platoon mates could help ease their transition to deceased status.”
The General expressed a hope that “international agreements would be reached that would help level the playing field for combat between units of all-male troops vs. units of mixed genders. We're optimistic that a sense of chivalry can be instilled which will give the female soldier a fair chance of surviving a hand-to-hand encounter with a male enemy soldier. If the rules can be changed to make men use only one hand agaist women”
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