U.S. Army trainers will soon lead an effort to create gender-neutral physical standards for all soldiers as part of a plan to allow women to serve in infantry, Special Forces and other combat arms jobs.
Training and Doctrine Command has launched “two major efforts in support of this full integration of women soldiers.” TRADOC has started a scientific review working with U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine and Army Research Institute to assist in the development of gender-neutral physical standards for all Areas of Concentration for commissioned officers and military occupational specialties for enlisted soldiers.
In addition, the “TRADOC Analysis Center is examining the institutional and cultural barriers related to integrating women soldiers into previously all-male specialties and units in order to develop strategies to overcome these barriers,” according to a TRADOC document released to Military.com.
Army officials will submit the service’s strategy for conducting these efforts to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday to satisfy the May 15 deadline for the services to present how they will fully integrate women into combat arms units by 2016, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Stephen Platt.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in January eliminated the Pentagon rule that prevented women from participating in certain combat units. The DoD goal is to open approximately 237,000 positions to women by 2016.
Some of the jobs being reviewed are infantryman, Special Forces officer, cavalry scout and armor senior sergeant.
But this does not mean the Army has decided to open these jobs to women yet.
“The Army will review these MOSs and make a recommendation to the secretary of Defense if they should remain closed,” Platt said. “If we find that the assignment of women to specific positions or occupational specialties is in conflict with the department’s guiding principles, exceptions to policy will be requested, which will prohibit their assignment to certain jobs.”
The review will analyze insights gained over the last 11 years of war as it relates to knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics -- or KSAOs, the TRADOC document states.
The plan is to validate gender-neutral occupational standards so servicemembers can be assessed and assigned to combat-arms jobs by September 2015, Platt said.
Using gender-neutral physical standards “will enable us to select those best qualified for positions and may reduce non-combat related injuries for both men and women,” Platt said.
Here is a list of the jobs previously closed to women:
11A Infantry officer
11C Indirect fire infantryman
11H Heavy anti-armor weapons infantryman
11M Fighting vehicle infantryman
11Z Infantry senior sergeant
12B/21B Combat engineer
13B Cannon crewmember
13D Field artillery automated
13F Fire support specialist
18A Special Forces officer
18B Special Forces weapons sergeant
18C Special Forces engineer sergeant
18D Special Forces medical sergeant
18E Special Forces communications sergeant
18F Special Forces assistant operations and intelligence sergeant
18Z Special Forces senior sergeant
180A Special Forces warrant
19A Armor officer
19D Cavalry scout
19E M48-M60 armor crewman (Reserve Components)
19K Armor crewman
19Z Armor senior sergeant