For the first time in the U.S.’ history, Pentagon strikes down gender barriers in the U.S. military since women are now allowed to serve in combat roles that were previously held only by their male counterparts.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Dec. 3 that women who meet standards can now drive tanks, occupy lead positions in military missions, fire mortars, and so on. Currently there are open roles in Green Berets, Marine Corps, Navty SEALS and AirForce.
Barack Obama deemed Pentagon’s decision a ‘historic step forward’ that can strengthen U.S. armed forces even more. The U.S. President added that women, who meet the standards, can now contribute with their talent in new military roles.
Carter announced that women would be able to apply for the new positions after 30 days, following a review period. During this period, the move will be reviewed by Congress, which can bring objections.
Carter believes that the review period could result in hot debates over whether young women must also register for the military draft, which is required in case a crisis arises and the demand for troops is greater than what the current all-volunteer forces can provide.
In the U.S., male citizens with ages 18 to 25 years old that reside in the U.S. are required to register for the draft. If an emergency occurs, a National Draft Lottery is conducted and men will be selected to serve in the military based on their birthdays.
The U.S. Department of Defense also disclosed that some but not all front-line combat positions would be available to female combatants. The agency said that there was no ‘absolute choice’ in those positions.
According to Pentagon, women would have to meet the same standards and go by the same rules men do with no exception. They would also take part in missions and occupy positions according to need and their skills.
While the move was met with criticism in the armed services committees of Congress, some regulators were content with the decision. Representative Mac Thornberry and Sen. John McCain, however, called for a review of the exceptions requested by the Marine Corps. and details on draft registration for women.
Two Democrats in the committees welcomed the move since, in their vision, it would make the nation’s armed forces stronger.
Pentagon first attempt to strike down gender barriers in the military dates back to 2012, when it instructed the armed forces to make positions available for women as well.
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