Women on front lines labeled ‘very irresponsible action’

Thursday, January 24, 2013
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)

A conservative military watchdog says the decision by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to lift the decades-old ban on women in direct combat was irresponsible.

The move, made public on Wednesday afternoon, will open up hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs, which up until now had been restricted to male soldiers. The move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units that directly engage the enemy.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, calls Panetta's decision "a very irresponsible action."


"... I've not yet seen any reason why he would do this, other than trying to push the agenda of the president even further," she tells OneNewsNow. "This is a problematic action -- and it takes Congress right out of the picture."

Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women. But Donnelly believes lifting the ban will do nothing but compel the military to lower its physical standards.

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"Standards will have to be lowered to accommodate what is known as a 'critical mass' -- a significant number of women, not just a few in infantry battalions," she explains. "And when you do that you're transferring all the problems that we're seeing in other branches of the service and you're putting them right into those infantry battalions -- and for what? There is really nothing beneficial that can come of that."

Donnelly believes this was a premature action done before the release of a Marine study that measured the risks of putting women into direct combat.

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Will training standards stay the same?

A conservative military watchdog says the newly announced plan to allow women in front-line combat units will degrade tough training standards.