Women Sue to Remove Combat Ban

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December 1, 2012
U.S. Army
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Four servicewomen and the Service Women's Action Network filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco on November 27 challenging the Defense Department's longstanding policy barring women from thousands of ground combat positions.

The four servicemembers have all done tours in Iraq or Afghanistan – some deploying multiple times – where they served in combat or led female troops who went on missions with combat infantrymen.

The lawsuit claims that their careers and opportunities have been limited by the combat policy, which does not grant them the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts. The combat exclusion policy, the suit says, also makes it harder for them to do their jobs.

Women make up more than 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel, yet the combat ban categorically excludes them from more than 238,000 positions. Consequently, commanders are stymied in their ability to mobilize their troops effectively.

In addition, the lawsuit charges that servicewomen are denied training and recognition for their service, put at a disadvantage for promotions, and prevented from competing for positions for which they have demonstrated their suitability, and from advancing in rank.

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