WOMEN IN COM­BAT

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Don’t look for Congress this year to de­bate leg­is­la­tion that would lift the ban on women in land com­bat units be­low the level of bri­gade.

The con­gres­sion­ally cre­ated Mil­i­tary Lead­er­ship Di­ver­sity Com­mis­sion rec­om­mended in Jan­uary, in a split vote, to lift the ban that has been the law since 1994.

Congress had asked for a com­pre­hen­sive re­port from the Pen­tagon on women in the mil­i­tary and their cur­rent roles. Women may now serve on com­bat air­craft and ships.

The re­port was sup­posed to be done last spring. But a House aide tells reporter Rowan Scar­bor­ough that the Pen­tagon re­quested an ex­ten­sion to Oc­to­ber.

“Based on the ex­ten­sive na­ture of the re­quested re­view and the de­sire to con­duct a thor­ough and com­pre­hen­sive re­view, the depart­ment will pro­vide the re­port in Oc­to­ber 2011,” Pen­tagon spokes­woman Eileen Lainez told In­side the Ring.

“The na­ture of to­day’s con­flicts is evolv­ing,” she said. “There are no front lines in Afghanistan. While women are not as­signed to units be­low bri­gade level whose pri­mary mis­sion is di­rect com­bat on the ground, this doesn’t mean they are not as­signed to po­si­tions in com­bat zones that could place them in dan­ger.”

Bill Gertz can be reached at in­sid­e­ther ing@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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