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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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 entire military career fields that remain “men only.”  The ACLU and the ACLU of Northern California, along with our partners at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, filed this lawsuit challenging the Pentagon’s so-called “combat exclusion policy” almost a year ago.  At that time, a 1994 directive signed by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin prohibited women from being assigned to most ground combat units and positions. We argued that this outdated policy didn’t match the reality of modern warfare, in which women have regularly gone into battle on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, unofficially or temporarily “attached” or “supporting” combat infantry units and Special Forces squads on their missions.
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…

Combat Exclusion for Women Should No Longer Be the Rule

Combat Exclusion for Women Should No Longer Be the Rule

By Tiseme Zegeye, ACLU Women's Rights Project & Elayne Weiss, Washington Legislative Office at 9:53am

The combat exclusion rule ignores the reality of modern warfare. Women are already serving in combat, and at present, 139 women have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

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…

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