Special Operations News

US Army to Open Special Forces, Infantry to Women

WASHINGTON, DC – A total of 19 military occupational specialties in the Army will open to women beginning early next year.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced Dec. 3 that women who qualify will be able to serve in any job, anywhere in the military. He directed the Army and other services to provide an implementation plan by Jan. 1.

More than 125,000 positions will potentially open for women in the Army’s conventional forces, and more than 13,000 positions will potentially open in U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Inside the conventional forces, the following MOSs will open:

— 11A, infantry officer, 6,296 positions
— 11B, infantryman, 75,115 positions
— 11C, indirect fire infantryman, 7,840 positions
— 11Z, infantry senior sergeant, 2,194 positions
— 13F, fire support specialist, 8,957 positions
— 19A, general armor officer, 403 positions
— 19B, armor officer, 663 positions
— 19C, cavalry officer, 1,165 positions
— 19D, cavalry scout, 15,028 positions
— 19K, M1 armor crewman, 6,828 positions
— 19Z, armor senior sergeant, 829 positions

Inside USASOC, 13,482 positions will open in the following MOSs:

— 18A, Special Forces officer
— 180A, Special Forces warrant officer
— 18B, Special Forces weapons sergeant
— 18C, Special Forces engineer sergeant
— 18D, Special Forces medical sergeant
— 18E, Special Forces communications sergeant
— 18F, Special Forces assistant operations and intelligence sergeant
— 18Z, Special Forces senior sergeant

Since May 2012, the Army has already opened about 95,216 positions and nine occupations to women, as it has taken a methodical approach to assessing and removing barriers to women’s service, officials said.

In September of this year, then-Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh submitted to the secretary of Defense his recommendations on whether to open — or to request an exemption to keep closed — the remaining Army military occupational specialties that have historically been closed to women.

Following a review of those recommendations, and the recommendations of the other service secretaries, the secretary of Defense announced Dec. 3 his intent that all positions in the U.S. military be opened to women.

The secretary of the Army’s recommendations about what positions to open were informed by the studies and the findings of working groups designed to look into the feasibility of women serving in combat arms roles.

Included among those were the Gender Integration Study conducted by Army Training and Doctrine Command; the Army Medical Command, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine task assessment; the Medical Command Injury & Attrition Rates Working Group; the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Risk Assessment & Suitability Analysis; and a one-time pilot program at the U.S. Army Ranger School.

The Army also additionally prepared for opening the positions to female Soldiers by re-validating the physical standards required for entry into the closed MOSs. Army Training and Doctrine Command led the effort to re-validate those standards.

As part of the Army’s Soldier 2020 initiative, all individuals joining the Army, male or female, will understand what standards must be met, and must also meet the standards, prior to being awarded a particular military specialty.

The secretary of Defense must pass on to Congress his signed recommendation. After 30 consecutive in-session days of Congress, if lawmakers have not disagreed with the recommendation, the Army can then begin recruiting female Soldiers into the MOSs.



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