The Defense Department announced today its assignment policy changes will be implemented May 14, opening 14,325 additional positions to women.
The two changes to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, announced Feb. 9 in a report to Congress, could not be implemented without a Congressionally-mandated notification period, which has now expired.
When implemented, occupations will no longer be closed to women solely because the positions are required to be co-located with ground combat units. Additionally, a sizable number of positions will be opened to women at the battalion level in select direct ground combat units in specific occupations. The services will continuously assess their experience with these exceptions to policy to help determine future changes to the assignment rules.
“The secretary of defense has said this is the beginning, not the end, of a process,” said Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney. “The department intends to continue to remove barriers that prevent service members from serving in any capacity in which they qualify.”
Defense Secretary Panetta has directed the services to update him in six months on assignment implementation, to include efforts to pursue gender-neutral physical standards, an assessment of the newly opened positions, and identification of any further positions that can be opened.
“Women have contributed immeasurably to our efforts, here and abroad,” Rooney said. “We simply could not do the mission without them.”
The previously released report to congress can be viewed here: http://www.defense.gov/news/WISR_Report_to_Congress.pdf .
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