Exception to Female Assignment Policy

Monday May 14, 2012

What is it?

The Department of Defense's Direct Ground Combat Assignment Rule (DCGAR) prohibits women Soldiers from serving in units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground. The Department of Defense Women in the Services Restrictions Review report released to Congress in February 2012 granted an exception to this policy. The exception to the DCGAR effectively permits an exception to Army Female Assignment Policy, opening select Army positions to women in direct combat units at the battalion level in open military occupational specialties, totaling approximately 755 Army positions across nine brigade combat teams (BCTs). On May 14, 2012, the Army will implement this change to policy and begin a six-month assessment period of the impact of this change.

Direct combat is defined as engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with hostile forces personnel. Direct ground combat takes place while locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire, maneuver or shock effect.

What has the Army done?

The nine BCTs participating in the exception to policy are: 2-4 Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; 2-1 Cavalry Division, 3-1 CD and 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; 3-1 ID, Fort Knox, Ky.; 3-10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; 4-101st Air Assault, Fort Campbell, Ky.; and 2-25th ID and 3-25th ID, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

The Army has issued orders to company grade officers in the rank of second lieutenant " captain, and noncommissioned officers in the grade of sergeant " sergeant first class, to report for duty to participating BCTs as early as May 14. The goal is to assign 35 women Soldiers to these positions per BCT.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army will assess the impact of these exceptions to policy over a six-month period, and provide a joint Service report with the assessment period results and recommendations to the Secretary of Defense in November (2012). The Army intends to begin executing those recommendations shortly thereafter.

Why is this important to the Army?

It is the Army's responsibility to ensure force readiness, to balance the force structure, and to provide commanders the flexibility necessary to accomplish their mission. Bringing the assignment policy in line with operational doctrine and emerging requirements is integral to achieving this goal. The Army is committed to ensuring that all Soldiers, regardless of gender, are given the opportunity to reach their highest potential and level of service.

Resources:

Army G-1 Women in the Army website

Army Regulation 600-13, Army Policy for the Assignment of Female Soldiers

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