A feature on the Navy Times shared the report of a military advisory panel, released on Friday, which said that women should be allowed to fully serve in combat. Having women serve in combat units is termed as the “last major area of discrimination in the armed forces.”
This advice comes in the wake of the repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military, and generations after racial integration. The recommendation was given by the Military Diversity Commission, which was established by Congress two years ago. It will send its proposals to Congress and President Barack Obama.
Critics of having women serve in combat units question if they have the strength and stamina required for such an assignment. They also contend that having women in infantry and other combat units may have a negative impact on team cohesion. Another consideration is the fact that Americans may react strongly to seeing women come home in body bags.
Not that the military is totally barring women from the service. Just last year, another milestone was reached after the Navy allowed women to serve in submarines.
Service Women’s Acton Network executive director and former Marine captain Anu Bhagwati called the prohibition on women serving in combat as “archaic,” saying further that “it does not reflect the many sacrifices and contributions that women make in the military, and it ignores the reality of current war-fighting doctrine.”
The report also said in part: “The Armed Forces have not yet succeeded in developing leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve… Minorities and women still lag behind white men in terms of number of military leadership positions.”