Pentagon Unveils Women in Combat Implementation Plan

The Air Force intends to open the remaining seven career fields currently closed to women—roughly 4,700 positions—by 2016, pending a thorough review of the doctrine, training, education, facilities, and policy requirements involved, said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, director of force management policy and deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. Each of the four services unveiled their implementation plans for integrating women completely into the force during a June 18 Pentagon press conference. Because special tactics officers, combat control, and special operations weathermen are positioned under US Special Operations Command, SOCOM will have the final say on opening these career fields, which equates to about 800 positions, said Grosso. The Air Force, however, will determine the most appropriate way ahead for opening combat rescue, pararescue, and tactical air command and control parties—career fields that have both a SOF and non-special operations mission, she added. “The Air Force has been actively integrating women into nontraditional skills since 1972,” said Grosso. “Today, less than one percent of all positions—Active, Guard, and Reserve—are closed to women.” Grosso said USAF intends to begin recruiting women into these career fields by Oct. 1, 2015, with a goal of integrating women into the pipeline a year later. However, she noted that because each of the AFSCs under consideration has particularly long pipelines, typically between a year and 18 months, women likely won’t be in these operational units until 2018. (USAF implementation plan)