Special operations units affected by a recent decision to expand assignment opportunities for women have been ordered to conduct an ambitious regimen of equal opportunity and Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention training for their soldiers.

The SHARP requirement responds to a Feb. 25 mandate from Army Secretary John McHugh to open 4,100 officer and enlisted "male only" positions in special operations units of the Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve to women.

The directive does not apply to the closed combat occupations and skills that comprise a bulk of the soldier jobs in Special Forces, Ranger and similar-type direct combat units.

However, Pentagon officials told Congress in mid-March that all military positions, not just those in the Army, will be opened to women by next year. Implementing guidance for those changes is expected to be announced this fall.

Special operations organizations open to women are:

  • Army Special Operations Command (Airborne)
  • Army National Guard Special Forces Group (Airborne) Battalions
  • Military Information Support Operations Command Tactical Psychological Teams
  • Special Forces Military Free Fall Operations, and associated additional skill identifiers 4X for officers and W8 for enlisted soldiers.

The changes are part of an ongoing campaign to eliminate the Direct Ground Combat Assignment Rule by dismantling, in phases, policies that have barred women from serving in combat units below the brigade level.

Human Resources Command, as well as S-1 and G-1 personnel officials at division, brigade and battalion levels, have been instructed to actively manage the assignment of women to these units to ensure the appropriate manning of female cadre who can serve as role models, according to guidance issued by HRC March 23.

The SHARP training will be conducted immediately down to the squad level in units that have been assigned women.

In units that are not assigned women within the next three weeks, SHARP training will be conducted within one month for the active component, and within three months after the assignment of women to reserve component units.

In addition to subject matter identified in the Army's 2013 stand-down order on SHARP training (HQDA Executive Order 161-13), training will include:

  • "Who's on Your Team," a video from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, and a follow-on small group discussion and command climate survey.
  • Equal opportunity and SHARP training packages available on Army websites.
  • Standard counseling for newly arrived women will be conducted in accordance with SHARP requirements defined in Army Regulation 623-3 and Army Pamphlet 623-3 on the officer and NCO evaluation reporting systems.

As the Army continues to assess the viability of opening additional jobs to women, the following specialties and skills remain closed to women:

Branch Officer Areas of Concentration:

11A (Infantry), 18A (Special Forces); 19A (Armor, general); 19B (Armor) and 19C (Cavalry)

Branch Officer Skill Identifiers:

3J (M1A2 Abrams tank); 3X (M2 and M3 Bradley fighting vehicles); 3Z (mortar unit officer); 4W (underwater special operations); 5R (Ranger) and 5S (Ranger parachutist)

Warrant Officer Military Occupational Specialty:

180A (Special Forces warrant officer)

Warrant Officer Additional Skill Identifiers:

4W (underwater Special Forces)

Enlisted Military Occupational Specialties:

11B (infantryman); 11C (indirect fire infantryman); 11Z (infantry senior sergeant); 13B (canon crewmember); 13D (Field Artillery Automated Tactical Data System specialist); and 3F (fire support specialist).

Also, 18B (Special Forces weapons sergeant); 18C (SF engineer sergeant); 18D (SF medical sergeant); 18E (SF communications sergeant); 18F (SF assistant operations and intelligence sergeant); 18Z (SF senior sergeant); 16D (cavalry scout); 19K (M1 armor crewman); and 19Z (armor senior sergeant).

Enlisted Additional Skill Identifiers:

A1 (M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System); A8 (master gunnery M1 and M1A tank); B7 (Bradley Transition Course), B8 (Anti-Armor Leaders course); C2 (Dragon gunnery); E9 (M901 Improved TOW Vehicle gunner and crew training) and F9 (Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data system).

Also, J3 (Bradley infantry fighting vehicle master gunner); K8 (master gunnery M1A1 tank); K9 (combat engineer mine detection dog handler); Q5 (Special Forces combat diving, medical); R4 (Stryker armored vehicle operations and maintenance) and R8 (mobile gun system master gunner).

And, S6 (Special Forces combat diving, supervision); U6 (field artillery weapons maintenance); W3 (Special Forces target interdiction operations); W7 (Special Forces underwater operations); 2C (Javelin gunnery) and 6B (Long Range surveillance Leaders Course).

Enlisted Skill Qualification Identifiers

G (Ranger); T (1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta unit operator); V (Ranger parachutist); and W (Special Forces advanced reconnaissance, target analysis and exploitation techniques).

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