Women in Arms Say No Thanks to Combat: Army Study Shows Few Would Volunteer

Article excerpt

The Pentagon has told congressional auditors that it has no plans to put women in land combat roles.

Women in the Army don't want it.

A commission survey of women in the Army found that 79 percent of enlisted women and 71 percent of non-commissioned female officers said they wouldn't volunteer for combat.

A commissioned survey of women in the Army found that 79 percent of enlisted women and 71 percent of female noncommissioned officers said they wouldn't volunteer for combat.

Only 10 percent of female privates and corporals agreed with this statement: "I think that women should be treated exactly like men and serve in the combat arms just like men." Less than one-quarter of midgrade sergeants answered yes.

Auditors surveyed senior Defense Department officials over the past seven months for a new report on "gender issues" requested by Sen. Charles Robb, Virginia Democrat and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. A copy of the General Accounting Office draft was obtained by The Washington Times.

"DoD cited military women's lack of support for involuntary assignments to ground combat positions as another reason for continuing its exclusion policy," the GAO stated. "This lack of support has been documented in several studies of military women."

The report quotes the 1997 Rand study, saying "most service women expressed the view that while ground combat positions should be opened to women, such positions should be voluntarily assigned." Male soldiers are assigned to combat roles whether they volunteer or not.

In 1994, the Clinton administration lifted barriers to women serving on combat ships and aircraft, but reasserted the right to bar them from land combat roles such as infantry and artillery. Since then, some feminist have continued to push to remove all exclusions for women, who make up about 14 percent of the 1. …