Army Secretary John McHugh has signed a memo opening thousands of more jobs for women in maneuver battalions across the force. (Spc. Canaan Radcliffe / Army)
The Army is opening about 33,000 more jobs to women, according to a newly released directive signed by Army Secretary John McHugh.
The bulk of the jobs will come from maneuver battalions from about 40 brigade combat teams.
If you’re a female soldier, you still can’t be an infantryman, but you can fill previously denied jobs in infantry battalion HQs to include: chaplain, intelligence analyst, health care specialist, paralegal, signal sergeant and supply sergeant.
Women didn’t previously serve in these maneuver battalions because, regardless of the MOS, they were barred from being assigned to combat units below the brigade levels. DoD has since eliminated that rule, the Direct Ground Combat Assignment Rule, which was put in place in 1994.
“Opening these positions postures the Army and its leaders to select for each job the best qualified soldier, the soldier who has the ability, is qualified, and has the proven performance to complete the mission,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Seamands, director of military personnel management in the Army G-1 (personnel). “This latest action enhances how we build readiness and ultimately increases our ability to manage talent, strengthen the total Army and provide necessary career opportunities for all soldeirs to succeed in his or her chosen field.”
The latest change does not apply to closed military occupational specialties in engineer, field artillery, infantry, armor and special operations units. It also does not apply to positions with closed skill identifiers. See the directive for the full list of denied jobs.
The Army has been building up to this announcement for some time.
In May 2012, nine active-duty BCTs began assigning women to their maneuver battalions’ headquarters in MOSs that are already open to women.
Seventeen more BCTs began doing so in July 2013. They initially sought noncommissioned officers and junior and company-grade officers.
The assignment of women into previously closed units will happen incrementally, the directive states.
“Female leaders will be assigned first to provide a support network for junior female soldiers and to offer advice to the unit’s male leadership,” according to the directive.
Commanders at all levels are responsible for adhering to this directive, the document states.
Human Resources Command, as well as the personnel staffs at division, brigade and battalion levels “must actively manage the assignment of women to ensure the appropriate manning of female cadre role models,” according to the directive.
In addition, Army commands, service component commands and direct reporting units are responsible for periodically assessing their units.
Since May 2012, the Army has opened about 55,000 positions to women across all three components, officials have said.
The Army also continues to look at opening closed MOSs — such as infantry, armor and Special Forces — to women. This includes a comprehensive study led by Training and Doctrine Command to validate the physical standards required for entry into those closed MOSs, according to information from the Army.