Initially reported that the USMC was allowing females to participate in the infantry billets, the below article paints a little different story. Interesting enough, look at this poll about females in the infantry.
Posted : Wednesday Apr 25, 2012 15:20:01 EDT
Expanded infantry training for women does not mean the Marine Corps is ready to send women into combat assignments, the Corps’ top personnel official said Wednesday
“Assignment policy for women has not changed,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead Jr., the deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs.
“We are not training women to be infantry officers,” he said. “We do not have that authority. That authority rests with Congress.”
His comments came before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on personnel, where the panel chairman is Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a former Navy secretary and Marine combat veteran. Webb said the decision is controversial, and that he will be closely watching.
As Marine Corps Times reported last week, the service is in the midst of an extensive research effort to determine what additional jobs could be opened to women. Plans call for sending an undetermined number of female volunteers to the Infantry Officers Course, a three-month program in Quantico, Va., where Marine officers are groomed to serve in direct combat roles and lead troops into battle.
However, women who successfully complete the course will not receive the Corps’ 0302 infantry officer designation, Marine officials said. Defense Department policy still bars the services from assigning women to jobs whose primary mission is direct ground combat, such as infantry and special operations.
“This is research so our commandant can make an informed recommendation” to Pentagon leadership later this year, Milstead said. That’s expected to happen in November.
The Marine Corps’ research plan also calls for sending enlisted volunteers to its Infantry Training Battalions, conducting a two-day fitness test aimed at establishing “gender-neutral” physical standards, and soliciting feedback from Marines throughout the force.
Additionally, this spring, a number of company-grade officers and staff noncommissioned officers will be assigned to jobs in six types of battalions, billets previously open only to men. Their experiences will help inform the Marine Corps’ recommendation.
Staff writer James K. Sanborn contributed to this report.