Research Paper: Women Should Be in Combat Roles

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Women in Defined Combat Roles

One of the more significant debates in the U.S. military is the role of women in combat. Specifically, the question has been asked if women should have defined combat roles. For as long as can be remembered, women were not permitted to hold a combat role in any branch of the U.S. military, and any women who were enlisted were sheltered in safer jobs far from the front lines of conflict. Yet, there is some history of women in combat, even in the United States. The first woman to receive a military pension for an injury while helping to fight was Margaret Cochran Corbin, in 1776 as a result of her combat service during the American Revolution.

From that point, however, females were not allowed to serve until that right was granted in 1903. Even then, females were assigned to the Army Nurse Corps. To accomplish this, it was necessary to pass the Army Recognition Act of 1901, and that act opened the door a small bit for women to serve in the military. However, under the terms of that act they were only allowed to serve as nurses, or performing support roles such as cooking or cleaning. It is only more recently that females have been allowed to take on more active roles in their service. The fact that the military has become more technical in nature, with substantially less infantry work than in previous generations, has opened up more possibilities for females to serve, but the debate continues with respect to combat roles. Since the 2001 deployment in Afghanistan, 130 women have died in military service and over 800 have been wounded (Olson, 2015).

The issue remains controversial. The Department of Defense has ordered that females should be integrated into the remaining closed positions by the beginning of 2016, but the Department has no implementation plan, nor does it have any mechanism for monitoring or enforcing this mandate. Thus, there remains concern that the controversy will continue to be unresolved, with informal barrier emerging to replace the formal barriers that are being removed. There are a number of issues cited, everything from unit cohesion, women's health and the modifications of facilities and equipment to account for females soldiers and sailors (Olson, 2015). While some concerns are pragmatic in nature, and ultimately could be overcome with sufficient willpower and budget. The other concerns are more ideological, and not necessary based on any sort of rational analysis.

The reality is that there is no reasonable reason why women should be sheltered from defined combat roles. First, military service is about ability, and should remain that way. Any woman who can complete the training required for a given job should have access to that job. This is not just common sense, but is something that is in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (for which the military has had a longstanding exception). Any military benefits from efficiency, in terms of having the best people for the job doing that job. By excluding half of the population from certain jobs, the military is doing itself a disservice, and is not serving the nation in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The short version is that any job a woman can do, she should have access to. This benefits women, as they have more employment opportunities, and it benefits the country as well, because the military is more efficient in its use of human resources.

It is important to maintain a large and strong military, and that is another strong case for allowing women into the military at all levels. There is no evidence to support the idea that women serving creates morale issues, or disrupts units. Women have always fought in combat, especially when their countries are threatened. The reality is that without evidence of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Women Should Be in Combat Roles.  (2015, November 11).  Retrieved August 22, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Women Should Be in Combat Roles."  11 November 2015.  Web.  22 August 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Women Should Be in Combat Roles."  November 11, 2015.  Accessed August 22, 2019.