Women in Service Review Implementation Plans

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Audrey Griffith, left, and Spc. Heidi Gerke, both with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, stand guard during a force protection exercise at Forward Operating Base Hadrian in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, March 18, 2013. (DoD courtesy photo by U.S. Army/Released)

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Audrey Griffith, left, and Spc. Heidi Gerke, both with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, stand guard during a force protection exercise at Forward Operating Base Hadrian in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, March 18, 2013. (DoD courtesy photo by U.S. Army/Released)

It’s been a long time coming but plans have been created to gradually open jobs to female service members are that were previously closed positions.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey reviewed the plans presented, which outline how the services and U.S. Special Operations Command will manage the incremental opening of these previously closed positions.

According to the DoD news release, “The successful integration of women into currently closed positions requires the department to be thoughtful and deliberate in determining the next steps.  The department will proceed in a measured and responsible way to open positions to women.  In all cases, notification to Congress is required prior to opening these positions.  Full implementation by the services should occur by Jan. 1, 2016.”

Each service has released their respective plans for implementation:

The Air Force

• Over 99 percent of AF positions are currently open to women now and the Air Force’s Implementation Plan for Integrating Women into Career Fields Engaged in Direct Ground Combat will guide the Air Force in opening the remaining positions no later than January 1, 2016.

• At this time, only seven career fields are closed to women, which equates to less than 5,000 positions across a total force of more than 500,000 Airmen.

• The following air force specialty codes are currently closed to women: 13CX (special tactics officer – STO); 13DX (combat rescue officer – CRO); 15WXC (special operations weather officer – SOWT); 1C2X (combat control team – CCT); 1C4X (tactical air control party – TACP); 1T2X (pararescue – PJ); and 1W0X2 (special operations weather enlisted).

• The AF is currently reviewing and validating physical and mental standards for the currently closed career fields.

The Army

• Soldier 2020 is the Army’s effort is designed not only to integrate women into once closed units/positions but also to implement the use of a scientific approach for evaluating and validating MOS (Military Occupational Specialty Code)-specific standards that began before the review.

• The integration of woman into all positions opened through this process will occur as expeditiously as possible, but no later than January 1, 2016.

• U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command is leading two efforts supporting the elimination of the direct ground combat assignment rule: 1. development of gender-neutral physical standards; and 2. execution of an institutional and cultural study.

• The plan has four lines of effort: 1) opening positions that are previously restricted by the direct ground combat assignment rule 2) focus on gender-neutral standards, focus on the task requirements as we move forward, 3) focus on a gender integration study, looking at those social and cultural aspects of integrating women into formations where there have never been women historically before, 4) work closely with Special Operations Command as they move forward in those areas, where we are expanding opportunity for women.

• The Army opened six new MOS (career fields) last year in artillery and maintenance.  Over the course of the year, 130 female soldiers were enlisted into them.

The Navy

• Women officers and enlisted currently serve on virtually every surface ship class in the Navy and opportunities will continue to expand as new ships and ship classes are commissioned.

• Work is being done to have no closed occupations, very limited number of closed positions, and equal professional opportunity for women in every officer designator and enlisted rating in the Navy by January 2016.

• Upon approval from Congress, the Navy intends to open Coastal Riverine Force Riverine Boat Crews to women officers and enlisted;  continues to coordinate with the United States Marines Corps to assign women to the USMC Ground Combat Element as units are opened; will follow the US Special Operations Command-developed integrated timeline for the potential integration of women into Special Forces; expects to integrate all submarine types (SSN, SSBN and SSGN) with women officers no later than January 2015, and will decide no later than March 2015 on whether to assign enlisted women to submarines.

• Currently, 88% of all Navy billets are open to women.

• Current closed billets are enlisted onboard submarines, frigates, patrol coastal craft and mine countermeasure ships; officer and enlisted SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen, Special Boat Operators, and Special Operators; and some positions within the Coastal Riverine Force and U.S. Marine Corps Ground Element support below the battalion level.

The Marines

• Policy is being approached from a standard Doctrine, Operations, Training, Mission, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF) perspective to ensure it is thoroughly examined in a whole-of-force manner.

• In phase one, during the first component of research, gender-neutral physical standards for all 335 primary MOSs will be reviewed and validated. To date it has been determined there are more than 250 physically demanding tasks among the primary MOSs and Marines have developed five proxy tests to represent these various tasks.  More than 400 male and 400 female Marines will test using proxy tests.  • Also in phase one, , the integration of female Marines into selected ground combat units will be assessed by getting qualitative feedback from them and from their commanders.

• In phase two, officials will set conditions for the implementation of  way-forward recommendations.   If officials recommend opening MOSs and/or units, setting conditions for force-wide implementation will include actions such as modifying facilities and educating the force.

• In phase three, the way-forward recommendations will be executed.  If recommending implementing the policy without exemptions,  the Marines will open identified MOSs and/or units in a logical sequence that neither impacts the combat effectiveness of the unit nor the capability of the individual Marine.

View the Secretary’s memo here.

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