Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Change in U.S. Armed Forces Policy Allows Women in Active Combat Roles

Latinas in the Army
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s Wednesday announcement that women in the U.S. Armed Forces will be allowed to be dispatched directly into active combat roles will affect the roughly 12.2% enlisted U.S. military Latinas.

The new shift in policy overturns a previous 1994 rule “prohibiting women from being assigned to small ground combat units.” The new decision gives the military services until January 2016 to see if there will be special exceptions needed to remain closed for women.

“I have been a firm believer in removing the archaic combat exclusion policy for many years,” she says,” says Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the highest ranking female member on the House Armed Services Committee. “I am happy to hear the Secretary will be making significant changes as part of an effort to expand opportunities for women in the military.”

Latinas went from 11.5% of the new enlistees in 2003 to almost 17% in 2010. Out of the total number of new enlistees in 2010, Latinas made up the highest percentage at 19%. Active-duty military women members make up nearly 14.6% of the total number, and 11% of the 12.2% enlisted Latinas are in active service.

“We welcome [the announcement] with cautious optimism, as we hope that it will be implemented fairly and quickly so that service women can receive the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts,” says Ariela Migdal, Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Fox News Latino
U.S. Army Website