Female cadets eligible for future combat roles
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 13:02
Recent changes in Washington are beginning to change the face of the United States military.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the military will allow women to serve in combat positions. Prior to this, women’s ground combat experience has been limited by legislation put in place in 1994. Women were allowed to serve in a small portion of military assignments due to many factors including strength, stamina and living conditions.
Military women will be able to move up in military positions requiring combat experience in order to be promoted.
Maj. Ammon Campbell of the USU Army ROTC said the program is a leadership development program with its lower-division courses open to any student wanting to develop skills to be a better person and leader. The ROTC also offers upper-division courses for juniors and seniors.
The ROTC program is established in 273 primary universities and has hundreds of other satellite locations.
After completing the ROTC program, cadets can enter one of the 16 basic branches of the military.
Before the decision, women were allowed to serve in certain branches or areas of the military. They were excluded from branches such as infantry, armor and artillery.
“Today we are acting to expand the opportunities for women to serve in the United States armed forces and to better align our policies with the experiences we have had over the past decade of war,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey during a press conference following the announcement
Campbell said opportunities upon leaving USU will be expanded for female cadets as units and positions open their doors to women. Some will take more time than others due to factors such as modifying physical tests and job requirements.
Female cadets have new options for when they graduate from the ROTC program. Campbell said they will be able to enter the army from the ROTC and become a supervisor over a platoon.
“The young women who have tended to gravitate toward combat engineer, which is the toughest job available to them at the time,” Campbell said of female cadets at USU.
Campbell said the military’s role in instituting changes has long been at the forefront of integration.
“There will be both good or bad,” Campbell said. “There will be changes we can’t foresee. In the Army, there will be few instances where there will be an issue.”