More women will be assigned to previously closed combat arms units following a force integration plan sent to the Marine Corps top leadership, the Marine Corps Times reports.
The integration of women into all combat roles is supposed to be accomplished by January 1, 2016 as part of former Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s rescinding of the Direct Ground Combat and Assignment Rule in 2013. This directive had previously excluded women from direct ground combat.
Currently, integration of women into the Marine Corps is tied to four experimental lines of effort.
According to the Marine Corps Times, these lines of integration are:
- Expanding the effort to include female Marines in previously closed non-infantry combat units.
- Allowing female Marines, after graduating from recruit training, to volunteer for more military occupational speciality training schools before moving onto their assigned MOSs.
- The establishment of a ground combat element experimental task force. A quarter of this force will be composed of women, and it will be used to study the physical, social, and psychological impact of having integrated infantry.
- The opening of 11 more specialties to female Marines, rendering only 20 of the Corps’ 335 primary MOSs closed to women.
Based upon the success of these measures, Commandant Gen. Jim Amos may request extensions past the 2016 deadline for carrying out integration.
Amos maintains that his decision to integrate the Marines will be based upon the success of being able to field a Marine Corps that is ready to fight and win at short notice.
The Marines have been experimenting for more than a year with passing women through the Corps infantry training course. Women have been held to the same physical standards as men and there have already been examples of women successfully passing the training.
The women were part of a 100-Marine pilot program created to test the viability of women in Infantry training. Despite their graduation from infantry training, they still reported to their original non-combat MOS.
The Marine Corps is still collecting data as to the effects of a gender integrated force. Lt. Col. David Nevers, General Amos’ spokesman, told the Marine Corps Times that as of yet no “institutional perspective” has been formed on integration.
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