(MRAP vehicle training, Kirkuk RAB, spring 2008)
So I am a bit behind, since the Secretary of Defense announced this December 3rd, but I have some thoughts to share on this, of course. I am sure that the Secretary's words were carefully crafted and vetted through many offices in the Pentagon, but I did like this take away: "We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards." Notice he didn't say, "Meet new standards for women."
I am 100% behind this. If a woman - if any human - can meet the established standards of a career field, they should be able to take the job. I know I couldn't meet the standards of Rangers or Special Ops, but I know some women who can. And as I often repeat, diverse team are stronger. All the "stress of boys and girls together in combat" stuff is just that - stuff - that shouldn't be a problem for well trained professionals.
There are two ways to handle this announcement. One is the way our most senior leader chose to: "Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs...was noticeably absent from the briefing." (source). Way to keep it classy General Dunford!
A far better, and extremely refreshing way to handle the change, was pointed out to me by a friend on Facebook. The article, "Your Opinion On Women In the Infantry Doesn't Matter," has this take on it: "But none of our opinions (really) matter. The decision is made. It will never be unmade. The new reality of the military is that women will be infantry. They will be armor. They will be in special operations. And this leaves everyone currently serving in these roles with a fundamental choice: lead them to become the best infantrymen they can become or be a (dork) about it."
The author closes the article with: "There are a lot of reasons women shouldn't be in the infantry. There are a lot of reasons why women should be in the infantry. But that's all moot now. Women are in the infantry. Given that fact, the "us against them" arguments are worthless. So you either get on board with that and devote yourself to making the infantry standard "our" standard, or we all lose. And I (really) hate to lose."
Amen! It's worth reading the full article.