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In this report I will present the information Ive discovered concerning whetherallowing women to serve in combat units will reduce a units effectiveness Women intodays military serve in more jobs and constitute the largest percent of women in themilitary then ever before Four years ago women only made up 12 percent of the militarythis has climbed from 16 percent in 1973 Armed Forces and Society 1996 p 17 Theyalso hold more jobs than ever before In 1991 congress passed an amendment which allowed women to fly fixed wing and rotary wing combat aircraft in the military HarvardInternational Review 1992 52 The military has also opened more combat support jobsin an effort to get more women to join the military Virtually every job is open to womenin the military infantry submarines and artillery are the only ones that are still off limitsCongressional Quarterly Weekly 1996 p 368First let me explain the distinction between combat support units and directcombat units The military changed its definition of direct combat for women This openedup more jobs for women that had been off-limits Congressional Quarterly Researcher1992 p 844 The performance of women in these positions was tested during the GulfWar For the first time American women flew combat missions and directly supportedinfantry units Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy 1991 p 200 Many times theywere exposed to live fire consequentially 13 were killed Congressional QuarterlyWeekly 1992 p 842 However women were never considered to be in directcombat The militarys current combat exclusion policy states that women are prohibitedfrom serving in positions that are engaging an enemy with individual or crew-servedweapons while being exposed to direct fire a high probability or direct physical contactwith the enemys personnel and a substantial risk of capture Law and Inequality 1991p 6 Many people feel that this policy is discriminatory towards women and only perpetuates the view that they are not seen equally in the military This policy ensures theeffectiveness of the combat unit
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