Combat Exclusion

Women make up more than 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel, yet the Defense Department’s longstanding policy barring women from thousands of ground combat positions, known as the “combat exclusion policy”, categorically excludes them from more than 200,000 positions, as well as from entire career fields. Combat exclusion is an archaic policy which does not reflect the values which our military espouses, or the actual capabilities of our service women. The combat exclusion rule also ignores the reality of modern warfare — women in combat are already serving their country in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, where there are no frontlines. Rather than enforcing a merit-based system, today's military bars all women regardless of their qualifications from access to prestigious and career-enhancing assignments, positions and schools, and is thus directly responsible for making servicewomen second-class citizens.

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DoD Comes Closer to Recognizing that Women Are Already Serving on the Front Lines

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project & Vania Leveille, Washington Legislative Office at 5:13pm
Last week, Pentagon officials got a few steps closer to recognizing what those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have known for years: servicewomen fight on the battlefield alongside their male counterparts, despite a longstanding rule barring them from being assigned to units that engage in direct ground combat. The Defense Department didn't altogether scrap the rules officially banning women from being assigned to such units, but it did loosen them. Under the new rules, women will be allowed to serve in some jobs — though not infantry, armor, or special operations forces — at the battalion level — that is, closer to combat than had previously been permitted. To the Pentagon's credit, it scrapped the infamous ban on women serving in units that are physically "co-located" with ground combat units, recognizing that the policy has become "irrelevant" on the modern battlefield. Now, 14,000 new jobs and assignment opportunities are open to servicewomen, though 238,000 positions still remain closed across all the armed services.
Pushing the Pentagon to Do the Right Thing

Pushing the Pentagon to Do the Right Thing

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 3:02pm

Yesterday, four servicewomen and the Service Women’s Action Network filed an updated complaint in their lawsuit against the Department of Defense for its ongoing policy and practice of banning women from thousands of jobs across the military, including…

Women in Combat: The Marines Take An Important First Step, But More Is Needed to Ensure Full Equality.

Women in Combat: The Marines Take An Important First Step, But More Is Needed to Ensure Full Equality.

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project & Vania Leveille, Washington Legislative Office at 3:29pm

Less than three months after the Pentagon announced that it was loosening the rules that bar women from being assigned to ground combat units, the Marine Corps followed suit, taking important steps to open up previously restricted opportunities…

The Best Way to Honor Servicewomen This Memorial Day

The Best Way to Honor Servicewomen This Memorial Day

By Francesca Acocella, Women's Rights Project & Elayne Weiss, Washington Legislative Office at 3:15pm

This Memorial Day, we can show the women serving in the military how grateful we are for their brave service by giving them the same opportunities to serve, and the same recognition of their service, as men. This month, the Army and the Marine Corps…

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