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West 1 In this report I will present the information Ive discovered concerning whether allowing women to serve in combat units will reduce a units effectiveness Women in todays military serve in more jobs and constitute the largest percent of women in the military then ever before Four years ago women only made up 12 percent of the military this has climbed from 16 percent in 1973 Armed Forces and Society 1996 p 17 They also 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 Harvard International Review 1992 52 The military has also opened more combat support jobs in an effort to get more women to join the military Virtually every job is open to women in the military infantry submarines and artillery are the only ones that are still off limits Congressional Quarterly Weekly 1996 p 368 First let me explain the distinction between combat support units and direct combat units The military changed its definition of direct combat for women This opened up more jobs for women that had been off-limits Congressional Quarterly Researcher 1992 p 844 The performance of women in these positions was tested during the Gulf War For the first time American women flew combat missions and directly supported infantry units Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy 1991 p 200 Many times they were exposed to live fire consequentially 13 were killed Congressional Quarterly Weekly 1992 p 842 However women were never considered to be in direct combat The militarys current combat exclusion policy states that women are prohibited from serving in positions that are engaging an enemy with individual or crew-served weapons while being exposed to direct fire a high probability or direct physical contact with the enemys personnel and a substantial risk of capture Law and Inequality 1991 p 6 Many people
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