The role of women in the military has steadily been increasing since the early 1970s. The most recent changes occurred between 1992 and 1994, when both legislative and policy changes expanded opportunities for women. Congress has taken a keen interest in this process, and the House report for the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 included as a special interest item a direction to the Secretary of Defense to evaluate the performance of the military services in integrating women into occupations previously closed to them. The report also asked for an assessment of the effects of this integration on readiness and morale.
In response to the congressional direction, the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) asked the National Defense Research Institute to assess the extent and effect of the integration of the women. To meet the congressional deadline, the study had to be completed in the relatively short time of three months. Thus, the study is not a comprehensive analysis of the integration of women into the services. Instead, it is a short-term analytic effort that evaluates the progress of integrating women into occupations and units previously closed to them and the effects of that effort on selected units.
The study has three components. The first determines how each service implemented the guidance to open new skills and organiza-