Women in Combat - new direction from US SECDEF

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Alamo, Jan 23, 2013.

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  1. Fox News reporting that US SECDEF has instructed the military to lift the ban on women in combat (less exemptions to be granted IDC) by 2016. Where they lead, we tend to follow.....

    Panetta opens combat roles to women | Fox News
     
  2. Just keep the same tests as they are now and let anybody try to see if they pass. That WILL work. OH unless they change them to let others pass and when the shit hits the fan they lose the first female SEAL.
     
  3. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Here's the full US article, rather than a UK summary thereof:

    So what about the British Army?

    We've heard these warnings before - it was the same siren calls about 'social experimentation' with ethnic minorities in the military, then with gays in the military, now with women. Senior infantry officers, speaking to the Joint Services Command and Staff College, have admitted that "there are no objective reasons to blocking women from the infantry - in due course (i.e. when we are eventually forced by parliament to end our restrictive practices) it will be apparent that it was more about emotion than reason".

    Like the revealing-named 'old bloke' said, but said genuinely, and without the patronising sarcasm,

    Yes, it will. There will be some bigots and misogynists to cleanse from the infantry on the way, but it will work.

    For example, on 16 February 2001, the eve of his retirement as Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie asserted that if politicians, ‘…put social engineering and equal opportunities in front of combat effectiveness, there is a real danger of damaging something that really works very well'. Citing General Guthrie's warning, Wildman observed that he was speaking for many, both within and outside the Services, who believed that ‘…the unique culture of the Armed Forces is being diluted to the detriment of operational effectiveness. Both changes in attitude to the employment of women and the acceptance of homosexuals within the Armed Forces have had a significant effect on military culture, especially with regard to openness, male domination and, some would argue, cohesion and efficiency.' General Guthrie commissioned in to the Welsh Guards in 1959. In 1959, Harold Macmillan held talks with Nikita Khrushchev, 20,000 demonstrators attend a CND rally in Trafalgar Square, Singapore was granted independence, Fidel Castro seized Havana, Charles De Gaulle was inaugurated as the first president of the French Fifth Republic, Buddy Holly was killed when his plane crashed, and a referendum in Switzerland rejected votes for women. Many things changed in the following four decades; the attitudes of Army officers were apparently not among them. How, in reality, have women fared?

     
  4. The argument, at least as I have understood it, has largely been moral and conceptual as much as physical. We must now have evidence of how the presence of females in contact has actually had an effect, if any, on their male counterparts.
     
  5. It's 2013 - time for equality. But not at the cost of effectiveness. I've never understood the point of having physical/fitness requirements that are deemed necessary for a job, then lowering the pass mark for women. If they can operate in the infantry with slower run times and less lifting ability, then why not let physically-weaker men pass at that level too?

    I personally think that many women serving today are perfectly capable of serving in the infantry - the point is that you either need a certain level of fitness, or you don't, regardless of gender.

    Any other reasons are smoke and mirrors.
     
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  6. FORMER_FYRDMAN

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Effective teeth arms require intense physicality, women will always be second class citizens in such an environment, nor can we afford to devote resources to uncover the very, very few who might be able to soldier in such units, and even then, only to an average standard. To which I would add, for the sake of those who wish to cry 'dinosaur', that any discussion of 'combat' is b0llocks - women are as brave as men and more than capable of pulling a trigger and hitting a target, but that skill alone does not an infantryman make and there is all the difference in the world between contacts in the course of doing something else and actively seeking out the enemy to kill him, and to do so whilst carrying heavy weights at speed over distance.

    There is no value to the British Army in turning first class soldiers in one area into third class soldiers in another simply to fulfill a feminist wet dream and give politicians, who've already slashed at capability to a dangerous degree and are promising more, a warm fuzzy feeling that they've appeased a pack of right-on civvy retards who haven't a clue what's involved and whose qualifying standard is the ability to pull an f'ing trigger.

    And... breathe...
     
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  7. Exactly. No objection of principle -- just don't drop the standards to make it possible.
     
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  8. I would not disagree with any of that. However..........
     
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  9. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Exactly - well said. The MOD's excuses comprise nothing more than the bluster, gnashing of teeth, and wails of pained anguish from overgrown little boys desperate to maintain their exclusive male hegemony... It's going to be both singularly unattractive to watch, and damaging to the Army's corporate reputation at a time that we are already fighting for our reputation (redundancies, questions about service justice, new judicial review announced last week about prisoner abuse in Iraq, et al).

    We've heard repetitive assertions over the decades about how ceasing the Army's traditional and often long-treasured disenfranchisement of "this" or "that" minority will supposedly "cripple combat effectiveness" - when put the the test, such arguments have been self-interested, bigoted navel-gazing by an insular minority merely seeking to preserve in aspic an archaic organisation.

    This is the best the MOD can come up with. They are relying on a supine parliament not to force them to open up. How long will that last?...

    Source: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/101129-wms0001.htm
     
  10. Having female medics and the like attached to Infantry multiples in Afghanistan didn't seem to cause many issues and as long as they keep fitness standards the same for Infantry so all, male or female, have to achieve the same standards then I don't see why it couldn't work.

    Although, I imagine there would be some problems to start off with such as if you had an all female platoon, where would you find suitably capable NCOs and Officers who would be willing to go and pass the required courses at Brecon (to the same standard as is required by the men obviously).
     
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  11. I'm going to risk sounding crass but even ignoring weight carrying ability the issue of personal hygiene cannot be ignored. I've spent a tiny amount of time in Warrior and am aware of the latrine facilities, to be used when in a CBRN environment ( assuming the Coke tins have been removed. )

    Any woman of child bearing age is going to have ( or rather, will impose on the other dismounts) pretty major issues one week out of four.
     
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  12. FORMER_FYRDMAN

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Have you any practical experience of mixed unit command and the issues involved or are you just venting?
     
  13. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Former_Fyrdman - I've read many of your posts in the past, and have almost always agreed with you. On this, however, I respectfully differ. In your posting, I have taken the liberty of swapping the word "women" with "homosexuals" and "feminist" with "gay rights". Guess what? Echoes of the late 1990's...

    Well done - the 1950's are calling for you. This is where your attitudes lead, this is what your mindset causes:

    The British Army over the last two decades: A litany of unlawful actions

    1980's - Racism.

    Throughout the 1980's '…existing sources of information indicated that racial harassment, discrimination and general racial intolerance existed in the Army [and] might be widespread, despite constant official denials that this was the case.' Analysis indicated that '54.1% of ethnic minority respondents stated that they had been the victims of racial discrimination… …89.8% of ethnic minorities thought there was racial discrimination in the Army…' and 'the Army's grievance procedure was not working.' As originally enacted the Race Relations Act 1976 allowed members of the armed forces to seek redress of complaints within the army's own procedures but not through industrial/employment tribunals – see Race Relations Act 1976 s.75(9). Because of the Army's incompetence in handling racial discrimination and racial harassment, that was changed by the Armed Forces Act 1996 s.23(2) with effect from 1997. Victims now have access to Employment Tribunals - and the Army has been forced to rectify its unlawful behaviour, under threat of judicial censure. (Sources: 'Race Relations', Hew Strachan, The British Army, Manpower and Society Into the Twenty-First Century, pp148-149, and Booley v MOD [2012] UKEAT 1821_11_1907 - Booley v British Army MOD (Practice and Procedure : Time for appealing) [2012] UKEAT 1821_11_1907 (19 July 2012))

    Early 1990's - Sex discrimination.

    In the early 1990's thousands of service personnel brought claims in Employment Tribunals based upon sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination, and the MOD was forced to stopped breaking to the law, having fought the cases at immense cost to both the taxpayer and its integrity. The Independent, 1994: 'The MoD has already paid compensation to 1,929 of the 4,000 women who have lodged claims for sexual discrimination. The ministry is likely to lose about pounds £50M in all.' (Ex-Army major wins record £300,000 for sex discrimination: MoD likely to contest award to woman forced to leave over pregnancy - Ex-Army major wins record pounds 300,000 for sex discrimination: MoD likely to contest award to woman forced to leave over pregnancy - UK - News - The Independent)

    Late 1990's - Homophobia and bigotry.

    The MOD fought a bitter and costly battle to be able to both conduct intrusive Military Police investigations into service persons' sexuality, and to dismiss those found to be homosexual. The MOD's case rested on homophobia, bigotry and threats. The MOD's official submission to parliament included, as evidence, statements such as: “If a homosexual was on board he will have an accident waiting for him when no one is looking” p72, “The first homosexual to come out will get attacked or shot. It’s not fair to subject anyone to that violence” p72, “I would never serve in a unit where a known homosexual is serving and I like many others would quite happily smash their faces in if I found any in my unit” p73, “On a submarine or ship the gay would have nowhere to run” p77, “I would not give first aid to a homosexual under any circumstances” p137. The MOD lost, and its arguments were proven to be empty bigotry. (Source: Homosexual Policy Assessment Team report, MOD and BBC News, 'UK Gays win military legal battle, 27 Sep 99, BBC News | UK | Gays win military legal battle)

    Early 2000's - Abuse in training establishments: the Deepcut deaths.

    "The Review returns to the four young people whose…deaths are tragic. The untimely loss of their young lives to their families and loved ones shattering and painful still. Although the possibility of sacrifice and death in service must be ever present in the life of a soldier, as recognised in the Military Covenant, each of these deaths seems so unnecessary as to compound the grief of those they left behind. ... The Review is, nevertheless, convinced that their loss has not been without consequence. The deaths of these four young people have had profound impact on the Army as an institution and the thinking of its Generals. ... By their deaths, each of these young people have served to help protect others from harm and abuse. Their deaths will not be forgotten. Their lives have not been in vain." Sir Nicholas Blake QC, The Deepcut Review, A review of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four soldiers at Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut between 1995 and 2002 p416, The Deepcut Review)


    Were, from the 1980's onwards, knee-jerk arguments like your own accepted, the Army today would be a white, male, heterosexual bastion in which sexism, racism, homophobia, bigotry and bullying were rife. It is despite, not because, of people with those attitudes that the Army is not like that: the modern Army has many commendable attributes. It still has some way to go, though. If anyone in the Army wants to be in an organisation which makes up its own rules, answers only to itself, and rejects oversight and control from parliament from whom our authority derives (or, in your words, "a pack of right-on civvy retards", they resign, and join the Ku Klux Klan - there is no place for those attitudes in British society in the 21st century.
     
  14. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Yes - I'll PM you, and we can swap stories (seriously) :)
     
  15. Providing you could recruit enough women to form female Plts then I couldn't see an issue but during the build up while the Army built up the numbers e.g. getting enough qualified vehicle commanders/drivers/gunners etc then there might be an issue.

    How do the Engineers cope with women working as a member of vehicle crew?