AFSOC Submits Female Combat Role Recommendations

Air Force Special Operations Command submitted two recommendations on whether to open the last few battlefield career fields to women, and whether to open all AFSOC units to women. “I’ve made that recommendation on the 15th of September.? I can’t tell you what my recommendation was, because I have to wait for my boss to collectively take that into consideration with my joint partners,” AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said at ASC15 on Sept. 16. “We know by science-based physical tests what is required to be able to do these operational demands,” Heithold said. Approximately 200 female and male volunteers took part in physical tests as part of the final stage of AFSOC’s evaluation in accordance with the Secretary of Defense’s decision to open combat jobs to women in 2013. Heithold said that if AFSOC recommends keeping certain Air Force Specialty Codes closed to women the command must request an exception to DOD policy from the SECDEF, who then has until the first of the year to approve or disapprove it. Recommendations from each service on whether to open all, or only certain units to women, goes first to the commander of US Special Operations Command, who will ultimately make his recommendation to the Pentagon. (See also Women in Combat from the August 2013 issue of Air Force Magazine.)