Analysis Of Women In Combat Essay Research

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Analysis Of Women In Combat Essay, Research Paper In 1994 Secretary of Defense Les Aspen set in place a policy barring women from direct ground combat positions. That policy, which is still in effect today was based on a study done by an all male committee that looked more at social biases in determining it than at the facts needed to make such a policy. If that committee however would have looked at 3 areas of study and placed themselves in an unbiased state, they would have been able to make a policy that was supported by facts and figures and not by views and beliefs. To begin an analysis of this policy, one needs to know the actual policy as the government words it. In a memo on 13 January 1994, Secretary Aspen laid out the policy for the heads of each branch of service.

His policy stated: “The following direct ground combat assignment rule, and accompanying definition of ‘direct ground combat’ are adopted effective October 1, 1994, and will remain in effect until further notice. A. Rule. Service Members are eligible to be assigned positions for which they are qualified except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground, as defined below. B. Definition. Direct ground combat is engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire or to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force’s personnel. Direct ground combat takes place well forward on the battlefield while

locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire, maneuver, or shock effect.” (Memo, pg. 2) As previously stated, this policy was the result of a study done by an all male committee that was biased based on societies own beliefs of women’s role in the military. During the late 1980s and early 1990s when the study was done, the percentage of women in the military was still extremely low due to women still not being accepted as a soldier. This, along with the social bias, was the basis for the policy. While doing the study, if the committee would have placed themselves behind John Rawls’ veil of ignorance, the would have been able to develop a policy that was supported entirely by fact and not by bias. By looking physical restrictions, safety issues, as well as

psychological issues behind the veil of ignorance one can develop an effective policy. The first area that needed to be studied was the physical restrictions women have that do not effect men. In 1992 Army Lt. Colonel William Gregor testified before the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces on a study he had done at West Point Military Academy. Following the study, he found that on the Army Physical Fitness Test, the top 20% of female cadets scored equivalent to the bottom 20% of male cadets (Heritage, pg.5). He also found that only 7% of women could attain a 60 on their push-up test while 78% of the males exceeded that score. Finally, he concluded that “Only one woman out of 100 could meet a physical standard achieved by 60 out of 100 men”

(Heritage, pg.5). To survive in a ground combat situation a soldier must be in superior physical condition. By nature, women have 40% less strength than men which translates into a lower physical capability to perform necessary combat tasks. With that decrease in capability, a female in a combat situation would seriously harm her unit’s ability to perform and survive. This would lead to the destruction or morale and cohesion which is necessary for any fighting unit to survive during war. The next area that the committee should have looked at was the idea of safety for women in a ground combat situation. By looking at enemy countries and their views on women, the committee would have found a serious safety risk to females were they to be captured. In examples throughout the