Pentagon: Women Are Free to Fight for Our Freedom

womenin-combat-1024x682Remember back in August, when First Lieutenant Shayne Haver and Captain Kristen Griest became the first women to graduate from the notoriously grueling Army Ranger School? That was pretty cool, right? But there was still one big barrier remaining for them: graduating the intensive leadership course does not actually make you an Army Ranger. Despite proving themselves to be qualified and prepared for a ranger’s responsibilities, as women, Haver and Griest were still not allowed to be considered for entry into the elite fighting force within Army special operations. That officially changed last Thursday.Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced on December 3rd that every branch of the US armed forces would be opening all combat positions to women. After receiving some pushback from the Marine Corps, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated: “We are a joint force, and I have decided to make a decision that applies to the entire force.” Before Thursday, 10 percent of military positions and 220,000 military jobs were unavailable to women. Now, women like Haver and Griest can start using their talents in the Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and all other special operations units.There’s no question that this is a big step for women in the military, but it looks like there is still substantial work to be done. The policy has been changed, but implementing it will be another challenge. Women have historically been denied the opportunity for upward mobility that men have in the military. Carter’s announcement doesn’t put an official end to this, but it’s a start. It is expected that the complete integration of women will advance the mission of the US military in unprecedented ways. We don’t doubt it.