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
"... 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 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.