Results Will Be Used for Research
The U.S. Marine Corps is taking another step toward opening up jobs to women in combat by allowing enlisted women to volunteer for basic infantry training starting this fall. "We are allowing the female enlisted marines the same opportunity to go through the infantry training as their male counterparts," says Capt. Maureen Krebs, spokeswoman for the Marine Corps. "There's no pay, nothing like that, this is strictly part of our research." She tells KTRH that the research will be used to gather data. "We can give (the data) to our senior leadership before they make a recommendation as to what military occupations and specialties to open up to females."
This move comes in response to the decision by the Defense Department earlier this year to repeal the rule excluding women from direct combat. That decision sparked controversy among critics who say it will lead to unintended distractions and problems that will weaken combat units. For that reason, the military is taking a cautious approach to implementing women into combat. In the Marine Corps, there haven't been any major changes put into place yet. "Right now the infantry military occupational specialty is closed to females," says Capt. Krebs.
The Marine Corps says allowing women in infantry training is just one part of a years-long research process into how best to incorporate women in combat. No women will join any infantry units until at least 2015, not even those who successfully complete the infantry training. "They will not receive the military occupational specialty and they won't be assigned to infantry units, but that data will then be used to decide whether or not we are going to open up infantry to females," says Capt. Krebs.