Panel Favors Ending Ban on Women in Combat

The Congressionally chartered Military Leadership Diversity Commission is expected to recommend lifting the ban on women in combat in its forthcoming report. This recommendation will likely be one of 20 steps that the panel will call on President Obama and Congress to pursue in order to develop a “demographically diverse leadership that reflects the forces it leads and the public it serves,” according to the text of the panel’s pre-decisional draft report (full document; caution, large file). The final report is anticipated in March. Military policy prohibits women from serving in combat units below the brigade level. “We are saying, ‘Let’s remove barriers,'” said ret. Army Lt. Gen. Julius Becton, a commission member. Today, women make up 14.6 percent of the military (19.2 percent of the Air Force). Retired Air Force Gen Lester Lyles chairs the 31-member panel. (Commission website) (AFPS report by Donna Miles and AFPS report by Karen Parrish)