Women in the Army
August 1, 2007
The Army is at the forefront of equal opportunity and equality for all people. Women are an invaluable and essential part of the Army team, and continue to play a crucial role in the Global War on Terrorism. Women want the opportunity to serve along with their male colleagues in support of the important job of national security. The American public in general wants women to have equal rights to every job.
Statistics and Facts
Today, women can serve in 91% of all Army occupations. Women can pursue their current career goals in 84% of the enlisted military occupational specialties (MOS), 99% of the warrant officer MOSs, and 98% of the officer Army occupational specialties.
Open/Closed MOS/AOC (as of Sep. 30, 2006):
Enlisted MOSs: 154 of 183 open to women
Warrant Officer MOSs: 68 of 69 open to women
Officer AOCs: 197 of 202 open to women
Positions primarily closed to women are: infantry, armor, combat engineer, Special Forces, and some field artillery. There are also numerous unit positions closed to women Soldiers. For example, a supply specialist in an infantry company.
There are more than 150,000 women Soldiers in the Army: about 70,000 women are in the active Army (14%), 47,000 are in the Army National Guard (13%), and about 39,000 are in the Army Reserve (23%).
Today, some 17,000 women Soldiers are serving the Nation in Iraq and Afghanistan (DMDC Jan. 31, 2007)
The total number of women Soldiers who have deployed to support OEF and OIF is nearly 80,000.
In a May 2005 CBS poll, 62 percent of Americans favor allowing women who serve in the military to participate in combat, while 34 percent oppose it. These views have not changed over the years, as polls conducted in the early 1990s show a similar level of support for women in combat.
In a 2005 Gallop American Public Opinion Poll about the military, on the matter of women in the military, 72% of the American public favor women serving anywhere in Iraq, 67% favor women serving in combat zones as support for the ground troops, and 44% favor having women serve as the ground troops who are doing most of the fighting.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, two cultures where contact with women is forbidden unless you are closely related, searching civilians can be a challenge. Our women Soldiers have filled a critical need in operations by performing a task their male counterparts cannot - searching women. Our women Soldiers visibly demonstrate the Army's commitment to respecting cultural and religious issues, and have been able to ease tension in what could be volatile situations.
Army Assignment Policy
Army Regulation 600-13, Army Policy for the Assignment of Female Soldiers
The Army's assignment policy for women Soldiers allows them to serve in any officer or enlisted specialty or position except in those specialties, positions or units (battalion size or smaller) which are assigned a routine mission to engage in direct combat, or which collocate routinely with units assigned a direct combat mission.
The "Direct Combat Definition and Assignment Rule" states: "women shall be excused from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground."
"Collocation" occurs when the position or unit routinely physically locates and remains with a military unit assigned a doctrinal mission to routinely engage in direct combat. Specifically, positions in units or sub-units which routinely collocate with units assigned a direct combat mission are closed to women. An entire unit will not be closed because a sub-unit routinely collates with a unit assigned a direct combat mission. The sub-unit will be closed to women.