All combat jobs opened to women; congressman blasts administration’s political agenda

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and Marine Corps veteran, blasted the Pentagon's decision to open combat jobs to women. Photo Credit: Public domain photo

“​There will be no exceptions.” Those were Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s exact words today when he stood alone in the Pentagon briefing room to make his long-awaited announcement.

All U.S. military combat jobs, including infantry units, will be open to women beginning next year, Carter announced today.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was not in the room at the time, Carter said, because the decision to open all jobs to women was his. In his former position as Marine Corps Commandant, Dunford had requested to keep 48,779 slots open to men only.

A controversial study done by the Marine Corps recently showed that infantry units with women performed worse than all-male ones. Carter acknowledged that the Marines asked for some exceptions, but to that he responded: “We are a joint force.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), immediately blasted the Pentagon’s decision, according to USA Today.  A member of the Armed Services Committee and Marine Corps veteran, Hunter said the move was “politically motivated” and would “erode the ability of the military to fight.”

Rep. Hunter added:  “What is it going to do to our ability to be lethal at the small-unit level? It degrades that ability.”

Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota Meyer, also voiced his concerns about the Pentagon’s decision. Meyer, a Marine vet who served in Afghanistan, said the decision was based on a “political push and not a realistic thought-out study.”

Members of Congress who support the decision say this will make the U.S. military forces more combat-effective, as integrated units are able to take advantage of the very best talent available, with no restrictions.

Almost three years ago, then-Secretary Leon Panetta announced he was lifting the two-decade ban that prevented women from most combat jobs. According to Pentagon records, since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 280,000 women have served in those combat zones.

There are 213,600 male-only jobs in the military, in 52 specialties. Though most infantry units in the Army and Marine Corps have been closed to women, many fields have been opening up to them in the last year, including the Army’s elite Ranger school.

The armed services had been given a Dec. 31 deadline to allow women into all of its units. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Congress will use the 30 days to “review the implications of Carter’s decision.”

“The Congress has an essential constitutional role to make rules for the government and regulation of our nation’s armed forces,” he said.

The services have until April 1st to accommodate women in all roles.

Carter was overwhelmingly approved for the top job at the DOD earlier this year despite never serving in uniform . The Defense Secretary is a Yale graduate and trained physicist, who was born into a military family.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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