The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

January 26, 2013

Women’s path to front lines strewn with potential obstacles

(Continued)

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that he recognized the need for change on a 2003 trip to Baghdad as commander of the 1st Armored Division.

After climbing into an armored Humvee, Dempsey said, he slapped the turret-gunner on the leg and asked, “Who are you?” She said her name was Amanda.

“So — female turret-gunner protecting division commander,” Dempsey said at a Pentagon news conference. “And it’s from that point on that I realized something had changed, and it was time to do something about it.”

Women, who make up about 15 percent of the military’s 1.4 million active-duty personnel, have increasingly been exposed to combat as the traditional front lines of battle blur in an age of terrorism and unconventional warfare. Women also fly combat aircraft, including helicopters and carrier-based Navy fighters, and the Navy has begun assigning women to duty on submarines.

In the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 152 women have died, out of more than 6,600 U.S. fatalities, and more than 860 women have been wounded, according to the Pentagon.

“Women are already on the ground doing the tough work,” said former Navy Lt. Carey Lohrenz, one of the first women assigned to fly Navy combat jets in the early 1990s. “They’re already there. This is for the most part an administrative fix.”

The new policy will change a 1994 rule that barred women from being assigned to ground-combat units below the brigade level. A brigade typically has several thousand troops, and women have been restricted to serving in support roles for ground-combat forces.

Panetta’s move in rescinding the ban was one of his final initiatives before his planned retirement. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., President Obama’s nominee to head the Pentagon in his second term, may face questions about the policy change at his Jan. 31 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services panel. Hagel supports the new policy, according to a defense official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity Thursday.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video