Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Breaking Down the Front Line: Women in Combat (Op-Ed)

Last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Pentagon made the decision to lift a ban that would allow women into combat. Since the announcement, made on Thurs., Jan. 24th, there have been mixed feelings among the public.

Lieutenant Jerry Boykin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, is the prominent voice against women in combat. In his CNN article, “Women in Combat a Dangerous Experiment,” Boykin makes his position clear: women do not belong alongside men in the field. The Weekly Standard, a conservative news outlet, publicizes the decision as “foolish.”

William Saletan, a writer for Slate, fires back at Boykin’s arguments in his article titled “Urine the Army Now: Ladies can’t pee outdoors, and other cringeworthy arguments for the ban on women in combat.” Perhaps Saletan’s attack may have been strong, but he’s onto something: a poll conducted by Gallup Politics found that 74% of adults “would vote for ‘supporting’ women in combat.

After reviewing some arguments and thinking over the issue, I do believe women who want to serve on the front line should have the opportunity to do so.

With that being said, I am neither brave enough, nor willing enough, to join the ranks. This may have to do with the fact that my genetics don’t foot the bill–I am barely five feet tall and can sometimes weigh less than a large Golden Retriever.

Anyways, I am not so much concerned about the physical requirements as much as the risk that women may be more exposed to in the field. With the files for sexual misconduct during training at Lackland Airforce Base, being in an environment where women could be taken advantage of is not ideal.

I do support giving women the opportunity to serve our country, but I cannot help but worry about particular dangers they may experience before even setting foot on the ground.

The Washington Post reports “the Army and the Marines, which make up the bulk of the military’s ground combat force, will present plans to open most jobs to women by May 15.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *