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Author Topic: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?  (Read 2260 times)

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Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« on: January 23, 2013, 03:39:03 PM »
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/2013/01/23/panetta-opens-combat-roles-women/yb6F6FSVXHCBerWiJ8EiFN/story.html

I will be honest I'm all for this, on three grounds.

1. Its an honor to serve the nation in uniform regardless of gender.

2. Women having half of the population and more likely to have High School Diplomas and College Degrees make prefered assets if there is a draft.

3. They can finally selective service everyone not just men a disparity I find offensive since women have as much a duty to serve if called up during time of war as men, if not more seeing point two.

Lets be honest this is also good for the ones serving your more likely to get promoted and into officer positions that matter if your a combat soldier or officer, and faster. For those joining and going career they have now the same options it seems men have to advance.

Offline Question Mark

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 06:22:51 PM »
I've always been of the opinion that the military/government/corporation/whatever should judge a person based on their ability to fulfill the position.  If you dismiss someone from a position because of some basic quality of their identity, whether it be sex, race, educational background, etc., you're an idiot.  It doesn't matter if only 1% of women can complete the fitness requirements for battle.  If they pass the test, they go on the front lines.  Simple as that.  Keeping someone from a position just because of who they are, even if they are perfectly capable, is plain stupid.

The bulk of the arguments coming against this decision were of the "women are not natural warriors" and "women are not as strong as men" variety.  Both are true.  On average, women are significantly weaker than men.  Men tend to be more physically fit, and are generally better at enduring the physically demanding environments in battle.  That's why men have chiefly been the warriors in historical societies (that and women were often pregnant, replenishing the depleting population).  In modern times, when physical strength is less of a factor in combat, and when qualities such as marksmanship, leadership, intelligence, and tactics are more valuable than brute muscle, these arguments hold less water.

In other words, it's about damn time America.  One small step towards rejoining the rest of the modern world.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 09:29:57 PM »
This has been a long time in coming. With a volunteer army it makes no sense to eliminate half your population from enrollment and advancement.

Offline Question Mark

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 09:33:06 PM »
This has been a long time in coming. With a volunteer army it makes no sense to eliminate half your population from enrollment and advancement.

AFAIK, this ban was only for assigning women to "front-line" combat units.  Now, I've never been in the military, so I don't know how much this happens to impact advancement (maybe a veteran on E could shed some light?), but women could enroll in the military if they met the requirements.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 09:48:00 PM »
The Navy..with a few exceptions, have been coed most of my time in service. I entered in '95. They had just opened up most vessels to females and I was on the first co-ed cruise of the Nimitz..

It's..educational. Non-Judicial Punishement entries on the plan of the day were six legal pages long (front and back). LOTS of fraternizing involved. I learned a lot. Like how locking a door can keep you from losing rank.. or if you spot a Seaman with a 125,000 car and making five figures in allotments from other (male) sailors, she might be more than she seems.

As for full opening up of the forces. I wish any woman who goes for the 'special units' such as the various Special Forces units the same as the guys in my boot camp company and on.. good luck. You're going to need it.

I'm perfectly willing to allow women into the front line units, special warfare units and even the subs.. assuming it doesn't impact performance I'm all for it.

That is my only issue. Will it effect unit performance. My gut tells me .. no.
 

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 10:06:37 PM »
You are right it was only a ban on front line units but that is the quickest way to advancement in the military from what I have been led to believe.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 10:12:02 PM »
You are right it was only a ban on front line units but that is the quickest way to advancement in the military from what I have been led to believe.

Yeah.. within their ratings.. the Special Forces units get some advantages.. but part of it, for example using SEALS, is that they do NOT work in their ratings that often. How often will a Quartermaster in the Teams get to study/work in his rating, how often will he be piloting a vessel or standing a watch on the Quarterdeck of a carrier? Not too damn often. And most of those guys I've seen are Class A overacheivers anyway. We're talking massive Class A personalities that work well in a team.

Outside the teams, odds are most of the ones I met would be doing just as well. I knew a few who had to leave the teams, due to injuries, and cross rated to other things (it's the only way you'd ever see a guy in my rating wearing a 'six pack'.) and without fail most of them were already 'ahead of the curve' from their work efforts.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 10:58:58 PM »
I know right now they will require women to volunteer for combat duties but it does again suck the Supreme Courts support of the biase in the Selective Service law since men were in fact the only ones that could serve anywhere in the armed forces, and women not. If women prove as a gender to be as good as men in combat and in the special forces then the courts have to then support a biase in violation of Federal law on gender to keep the women out of the Selective Service not likely to happen if the law is challenged in a few years.

My father thinks this might make the service better women he found think differently than men and in his case its a huge plus in the intelligence work he does, he relies on women a great deal it seems.

I don't agree long term with volunteer only however for basic combat roles if a woman is tested and can fill a needed role at some point the lack of a penis should not bar her from required service. My fathers only issue is pregnancy he said any woman in the service in a military combat unit should be required to use longer term birth control either shots or implanted devices, under the military code it could be demanded during wartime since we are talking combat assets and readiness can outweight personal liberty.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 11:39:36 PM »
I personally agree on that point Ruby.. but it's a twitchy point in the service. Particularly when you consider a woman's fertile period is along a large point of her career. It's already bad when a woman gets pregnant even on shore duty. Depending on your duty station and job.. it can shuffle folks around. I had lots of airmen get sent to me towards the end when I ran the 1st LT. Division. Not that I could always use them, no paint, limited chemical exposure.. often they wound up working in Admin positions and some of them HATED it.. they weren't trained for it.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 11:53:03 PM »
I would assume that would be under a drafted to serve situation, volunteers are volunteers and I would hope women serving in combat roles would use maturity to stay productive in their duties. But one could consider making this a commander directive if your in a battalion and the commander says any woman getting pregnant unless granted permission is in violation of their duties and subject to failure to abide by a direct command (insubordination subject to court martial) would be enough.

But if we do draft women choice is not likely to be an option they fight or we could lose a war.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 01:00:17 AM »
If they can do the job just as well?  Why ever not?  You can do the job, you get the job.  That's what I always believed in.

Offline Sasquatch421

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 06:51:08 AM »
I don't think the only issue will be pregnancy in combat... I'm a Marine Vet and if you have heard the saying "Every Marine is a basic rifleman", which means all of us got basic infantry training.... Weeks without a shower and shaving with cold water. Women have a time of every month that men do not and what if they can't clean up properly? You might be in a situation where you have only a canteen for how long and it just happens to coincide with a period? It does deal with blood, so would there be a health risk if the woman can't clean up or would it just be an annoyance?

If there is no problem, then sure why not?

Offline Moraline

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 11:06:46 AM »
<snip>
...happens to coincide with a period? It does deal with blood, so would there be a health risk if the woman can't clean up or would it just be an annoyance?

If there is no problem, then sure why not?
Just to answer that:

No big deal. I can wipe myself clean just as easily as someone can wipe their backside clean. Only my period poses less of a health risk then leaving feces all over themselves. Plus, pads are extremely small/thin and heavy menstruation only lasts for a couple days. I don't see any problems.


I'm all for women on the front lines. Just keep the physical fitness standards(and all the rest) the same and if a woman can meet the demands then welcome aboard!

From my personal experience, I'm in a lot better shape and far physically stronger then an average male office worker. I'm faster, stronger, and tougher(and I don't even weight train for that purpose, I just work out regularly.) I'm fully confident in my ability to meet the physical demands of military life on the front lines. I'm not saying that some big badass spec ops guy couldn't kick my ass but give me a bit more training and I could at least make him wish he'd not tried it - win or lose.

There might be more men then women that are capable of things like the physical demands found in special units. However, for basic front line stuff I think there are loads of women ready for the task and a surprising number that can meet the more physically demanding roles too.

Sorry this is the part where I cheer, "Go Girl Power!"

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2013, 11:16:11 AM »
The only problem I see is this.. will the services have to adapt standards for women.. or hold women to the same standards as men. I ask because in front line units it's not TOO big a deal.. but for the special warfare units, physical toughness (not strength..but 'I can run forever and still shoot' toughness) and sheer mental fortitude are what they look for in a SEAL/Ranger/ect.

I recall two types of women in the early days of my community going co-ed. There was the worker/supervisor who took the lead, asked questions and DID things. Sometimes they weren't as knowledgable as the old salts..but damn they worked. I never had a problem with them. More than one of my mentors were women coming in from other communities that had been co-ed longer. The other was the worker who worked EXACTLY her shift -not a minute more.. not a minute less- who might not who the division officer was but KNEW exactly who was the equal opportunity officer was. (And the hours, phone number and other duty stations of same), who knew to the OUNCE what was a two man lift but couldn't be bothered to learn the maintenance manuals. The slick one who would dime you out for 'fraternization' while wooing Senior Chiefs. And knew every discrete way to slip a knife in your kidney after you've helped her learn her job.

You know who usually lit them up the most? The other women. When I got out.. there were more gun-ho ready to go female workers than the second type..because the first types weren't above doing the work needed to put them in their place. Not to mention most of the senior folks they are trying to game these days..are the same ladies their predecessors stepped on back in the day.

And truthfully, aside from the EO angle.. they play the same games the slackers with a 'coin purse' use. You just have to be able to handle them. I learned, I taught my airmen that I thought would be better shop politicians than me. (I was too blunt to 'play games' when I was trying to get the planes off the pointy end of the ship)

Biology aside.. a soldier(sailor or airmen or marine) are all the same. Some will do the job great, some will do it okay..and others will be a waste of space. I don't see this change effecting the services too much now.

Offline Moraline

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2013, 11:49:25 AM »
The only problem I see is this.. will the services have to adapt standards for women.. or hold women to the same standards as men. I ask because in front line units it's not TOO big a deal.. but for the special warfare units, physical toughness (not strength..but 'I can run forever and still shoot' toughness) and sheer mental fortitude are what they look for in a SEAL/Ranger/ect.
<snip>

Any woman can match a man for physical and mental toughness.

Strength and size logistics are the only obstacles.

Example:  I'm in great shape but even in great shape, I can't hoist a 200 lb man onto my shoulders and there are 2 reasons for that:

1) Strength:  I would struggle with the weight of it. I can't bench press 200 lbs but I can dead lift it easy enough and I can carry a 160 lb man on my back and still manage a short 10 yard run(never tried for further). (PS: I've known plenty of regular army guys fresh out of bootcamp that would struggle with it too.) So, a bigger woman with more emphasis on physical strength could most likely manage it.

2) Logistics:  This is the main one. My size limits me. My shoulders are too narrow and my stature is too small to manage it. It makes the weight awkward for me to carry (5'6" slim build.) However, there are a select few women that have the broad shoulders and builds to support the weight and can.

Physical toughness isn't an issue. Woman are every bit as tough as men and mental fortitude has never been a gender specific. Just look at any triathlon(requiring phenomenally high levels of endurance and mental fortitude) - The distances are the same for men as they are for women and current world records are within minutes of one another. Also mens times aren't changing much but women are getting faster and faster all the time. 

Some studies actually show that women are better suited for endurance type athletics, the longer the distance the more suited our bodies are for it.

Running Doc: Are Women More Suited For Endurance Than Men?

Offline BCdan

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2013, 12:22:21 PM »
I am just going to throw this question out there about the selective service.  For it to be equal and fair under the 5th amendment, women need to be registered for the selective service.  This is based of the supreme court decision  Rostker v. Goldberg in which women were exempted from the selective service because the draft is only used for recruiting people for combat roles.  Because women were banned from combat roles, it was constitutional for the government to draft men, but not women.  Now with women being allowed into combat roles, the 5th amendment is quit clear and I expect a court challenge in coming months that will force women to register with the selective service.

So my question is, how is a woman (or man for that matter) being drafted not similar to rape?  You are basically forcing that person to do something with their body (in this case, kill in defense of the country) that they may not be comfortable with doing.  Maybe its non-sexual, but if its non-consensual how is it not similar morally to the government forcing people to procreate. 

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2013, 12:25:59 PM »
Any woman can match a man for physical and mental toughness.

Strength and size logistics are the only obstacles.

Example:  I'm in great shape but even in great shape, I can't hoist a 200 lb man onto my shoulders and there are 2 reasons for that:

1) Strength:  I would struggle with the weight of it. I can't bench press 200 lbs but I can dead lift it easy enough and I can carry a 160 lb man on my back and still manage a short 10 yard run(never tried for further). (PS: I've known plenty of regular army guys fresh out of bootcamp that would struggle with it too.) So, a bigger woman with more emphasis on physical strength could most likely manage it.

2) Logistics:  This is the main one. My size limits me. My shoulders are too narrow and my stature is too small to manage it. It makes the weight awkward for me to carry (5'6" slim build.) However, there are a select few women that have the broad shoulders and builds to support the weight and can.

Physical toughness isn't an issue. Woman are every bit as tough as men and mental fortitude has never been a gender specific. Just look at any triathlon(requiring phenomenally high levels of endurance and mental fortitude) - The distances are the same for men as they are for women and current world records are within minutes of one another. Also mens times aren't changing much but women are getting faster and faster all the time. 

Some studies actually show that women are better suited for endurance type athletics, the longer the distance the more suited our bodies are for it.

Running Doc: Are Women More Suited For Endurance Than Men?

that is what I'm saying.. I know that a lot of critics throw out the 200+ soldier (and gear) argument. There is a lot of those.

I have talked to guys on the teams.. they say the BUDs 'Hellweek' isn't about raw physical strength. Never was. it's about forging a Team Member. Someone who can and will push him (or her) self past any conceivable limits.  I've seen the trainees run up and down the beach in San Diego at ALL hours of day and night, I recall one night coming back from ID4 at like 3:50 AM seeing six guys (of varying heights) run down a beach with a raft (and a SEAL in it yelling at them)

My concern is the 'PC' culture that insists that 'adjustsments' be made for those fields. I don't think that will fly in the Special Warfare community.

Me? I'm curious to see how the Sub community reacts to a co-ed boat. That is a very ..insular community from what little contact I've had.

I'm also curious to see how the Selective Service fallout comes about. I think, personally, it's a non-issue..but on the poiltical front it's got to be high rad toxic waste pro or con.

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Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2013, 01:28:18 PM »
Just to answer that:

No big deal. I can wipe myself clean just as easily as someone can wipe their backside clean. Only my period poses less of a health risk then leaving feces all over themselves. Plus, pads are extremely small/thin and heavy menstruation only lasts for a couple days. I don't see any problems.


I'm all for women on the front lines. Just keep the physical fitness standards(and all the rest) the same and if a woman can meet the demands then welcome aboard!

From my personal experience, I'm in a lot better shape and far physically stronger then an average male office worker. I'm faster, stronger, and tougher(and I don't even weight train for that purpose, I just work out regularly.) I'm fully confident in my ability to meet the physical demands of military life on the front lines. I'm not saying that some big badass spec ops guy couldn't kick my ass but give me a bit more training and I could at least make him wish he'd not tried it - win or lose.

There might be more men then women that are capable of things like the physical demands found in special units. However, for basic front line stuff I think there are loads of women ready for the task and a surprising number that can meet the more physically demanding roles too.

Sorry this is the part where I cheer, "Go Girl Power!"

There are also alternatives to pads/tampons.  I'll spare on the details, unless people really want to know (I'm not talking hormonal treatments, either.)

And I seem to remember reading somewhere that the average female can withstand higher G-forces before blacking out.

Offline Skynet

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2013, 01:39:43 PM »
I for one support this decision, for similar reasons that RubySlippers laid out.  Although I disagree with her about the draft: nobody should be forced into fighting a war.

Back on topic, women already serve in many useful capacities in the military, from technicians to air force pilots.  Other countries have front-line female combatants already, and it's time that the US caught up to them.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2013, 01:44:02 PM »
I am just going to throw this question out there about the selective service.  For it to be equal and fair under the 5th amendment, women need to be registered for the selective service.  This is based of the supreme court decision  Rostker v. Goldberg in which women were exempted from the selective service because the draft is only used for recruiting people for combat roles.  Because women were banned from combat roles, it was constitutional for the government to draft men, but not women.  Now with women being allowed into combat roles, the 5th amendment is quit clear and I expect a court challenge in coming months that will force women to register with the selective service.

So my question is, how is a woman (or man for that matter) being drafted not similar to rape?  You are basically forcing that person to do something with their body (in this case, kill in defense of the country) that they may not be comfortable with doing.  Maybe its non-sexual, but if its non-consensual how is it not similar morally to the government forcing people to procreate.

Well my view being a military brat ,Go Army, is you are never forced to serve I had relatives in WW2 get drafted and refused to undergo the training for combat. Two became medics no biggy. One was just a coward and flatly refused to fight and sucked up the response and was eventually sent to military prison for a year even though he said if he didn't get sent to fight he would serve, as in nowhere near a battlefield.

In Vietnam the same thing save the relative openly went to prison clearly on the grounds he will not risk his life in combat and refused training, but did take the oath and all.

Seems to me not rape though its more forced servitude that has been upheld by the courts. If there was a draft and both genders counted, a big if we would need to be in a general war footing rather unlikely right now, both sides might have issues. Most would serve, some protest in some way and some run. I for one think the draft is a stupid idea to do since I trust professional volunteers to do their duty and be good at what they do, draftees would not be as commited unless a WW2 scenario is in effect a defense of our nation from a clear direct threat.

Offline Caela

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2013, 02:35:20 PM »
Sounds like a good idea in theory, certainly it sounds more "fair" than not letting women fight on the front lines. I don't think we'll really know how good, or bad, an idea it will turn out to be for several years though. There will be an adjustment period as women volunteer for open positions and then to get them fully trained and integrated. In the end, I don't think it will be an issue, so long as they are held to the same standards as the men. It's a personal pet peeve of mine, but I get tired of women saying they are equal to men at something, and then demanding standards be changed because they're women! If you can't pass the same tests as the boys you're going up against, then you aren't equal in this area, get over it. Any woman that can pass the tests though...more power to them!

Offline band in the rain

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2013, 10:58:07 PM »
Anybody that actually wishes to should be able to serve, so I definitely think this is a good thing. Still personally think the draft is B.S. though.

Online Zeitgeist

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2013, 11:07:34 PM »
I would assume that would be under a drafted to serve situation, volunteers are volunteers and I would hope women serving in combat roles would use maturity to stay productive in their duties. But one could consider making this a commander directive if your in a battalion and the commander says any woman getting pregnant unless granted permission is in violation of their duties and subject to failure to abide by a direct command (insubordination subject to court martial) would be enough.

But if we do draft women choice is not likely to be an option they fight or we could lose a war.

Bolded emphasis mine.

I'm pretty certain that will not go over well with either feminists or the Christian right. Just saying.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2013, 09:43:53 AM »
Bolded emphasis mine.

I'm pretty certain that will not go over well with either feminists or the Christian right. Just saying.

Rules of war ar different if the woman is a draftee, tested and assigned after boot camp to say a tank crew and trained as a driver or a weapons operator they become a vital combat asset which if lost to pregnancy would hurt that crews ability to kill the enemy. They would have to limit pregnancy and under the military code the can be ordered onto birth control no soldier can usually refuse an order on personal or religious grounds if the military demand is considered superior.

And shall we do the math here 25% of men are military fit if the draft was started again, add in women that doubles the number of bodies and more women than men have the coveted High School Diploma and College Degreees sought by the services for those technical jobs that are there. That for me is better for our defense planning.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Panetta Opens Up Combat Duties to Women - Bad or Good?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2013, 10:19:20 AM »
Rules of war ar different if the woman is a draftee, tested and assigned after boot camp to say a tank crew and trained as a driver or a weapons operator they become a vital combat asset which if lost to pregnancy would hurt that crews ability to kill the enemy. They would have to limit pregnancy and under the military code the can be ordered onto birth control no soldier can usually refuse an order on personal or religious grounds if the military demand is considered superior.

And shall we do the math here 25% of men are military fit if the draft was started again, add in women that doubles the number of bodies and more women than men have the coveted High School Diploma and College Degreees sought by the services for those technical jobs that are there. That for me is better for our defense planning.

Actually, religious ground ARE an excuse to circumvent some regs. Known religious standards like Roman Catholic Church's stance on birth control IS an issue.

A while back there were discussions on mandatory birth control implants for ALL women on Sea Duty. It was finally deemed a BAD IDEA to do so and quietly shelved. For a SLEW of reasons