Opening Remaining Combat Roles to Women

The Air Force is on track to recommend and evaluate by July 2015 best practices for integrating women in the remaining combat roles presently excluded to them, said Lt. Col. Veronica Senia, chief of the Air Force Assignments and Women in Service Review. Unlike the other services, the Air Force has to work closely with US Special Operations Command to achieve this goal since the “majority” of the 4,000-plus Air Force jobs still closed to women “fall under SOCOM,” she said during a panel discussion on Oct. 3 at the Military Reporters and Editors Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. “We need to have a coordinated effort in opening these,” said Senia, adding that “we want to make sure we don’t negatively impact females.” The Air Force is also different from the other services in that 20 percent of its force are females, meaning there’s no need for “big cultural initiatives” like the other services are undertaking. Regarding concerns over a female’s ability to meet the physical requirements for certain positions, Senia said “no matter man or female, if the mission requires you to do ‘X,’ we’ll make sure the requirements tie you to that.”