The Blog

Proceed With Caution

9:57 AM, Jan 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In November, Brookings Institution fellow Michael O'Hanlon suggested the Pentagon move with caution before putting women in combat:

If only a few women want to serve as Marine infantry officers or prove that they can, it may not make sense to restructure core elements of the combat force to place women in positions of infantry command. The stakes are too high to take this matter lightly or to pretend it is a simple matter of civil rights akin to earlier debates over integrating blacks and gays into the nation's armed forces.

I am inclined to think that women with the skills and desire for intense ground combat should, at least initially, be steered toward other parts of the military (certain responsibilities within the special forces, for example) where they can contribute in important ways even in small numbers. But this judgment is provisional. We need to see if other women volunteer for training and see how they do. There is no need to rush, or to let politics drive the decision-making. The stakes are too high for that.

Recent Blog Posts