The U.S. Army has made a landmark decision in opening all military occupational specialties, or MOSs, to male and female soldiers.
The decision, announced in December 2015 by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, opened up almost 220,000 jobs across the military.
Previously, a number of Army jobs were only open to men, including:
- The infantry is the Army’s largest job category, comprising around 101,000 soldiers on active-duty and in the reserve components.
- Women will now be allowed to become armor officers, cavalry officers, cavalry scouts, armor crewmen (the job titles will soon change) and armor senior sergeants.
- Forward observer. Field artillery units must now offer jobs to women who are qualified to perform them, as well.
- Special Forces. Women can now join the elite ranks of the Green Berets, including serving as Special Forces weapons sergeants, engineers, communications and intelligence.
“The important factor in making my decision was to have access to every American who could add strength to the joint force,” said Carter, whose choice affected the Marine Corps as well.
The Marines wanted to hold some jobs out of women’s reach, such as infantry, machine gunners and fire support reconnaissance.
It’s worth noting that there haven’t been clearly defined “front lines” in Afghanistan or Iraq since each conflict began. Women have been serving as gunners, civil affairs and public affairs, and field artillery specialists – and even in Delta Force, the military’s highest-tier special operations segment.
The move has been extremely controversial, with many people calling for women to register with the Selective Service.
Opening combat jobs to women is, technically, just a formality – particularly when you consider that hundreds of female soldiers have been injured and killed in combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) over the past decade.
What Do You Think?
Do you think women should be allowed to participate in what have been men’s jobs for the past few hundred years? Should women be forced to register for the draft, just as men are?