Rescinding the Direct Combat Rule for Women

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Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

I want to address some misperceptions about the decision to rescind the direct combat rule for women. Some fear that this decision will lower standards in our military. That is simply not the case. The services will carefully examine current standards to ensure we have them right, taking into consideration lessons learned from a decade of war and changes in equipment, tactics and technology. We will study each closed occupational field or unit to determine where women are able to serve.

Let me be clear: The standards will be gender-neutral — the same for men and women. This assessment will take time, and the Joint Chiefs and I are committed to making sure that this is done correctly.

As we develop and take the steps necessary to implement Joint Force 2020, the Joint Chiefs are unanimous in their judgment that the time has come to remove unnecessary barriers to service based on gender alone. This is about using the talent and skills of women in the military in order to make our military even better than it is today.

Related Links:
Gen. Dempsey Talks About the Direct Combat Exclusion Rule on Facebook
Memo: Elimination of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule
Transcript: Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey Speak to Pentagon Press Corps 24 Jan.
AFPS: Defense Department Expands Women’s Combat Role
Video: Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett Responds to Lifting the 1994 Combat Exclusion Policy

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