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1. Army Combat Arms

Women in the Military

The documents linked below provide information that is essential for understanding the topic.  Researchers are invited to review these documents, as well as articles available in the Issues Research & Analysis section of this website.

CMR: CMR Files Comprehensive Statement for the Record for Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Women in Direct Ground Combat

  • CMR: Statement for the Record, Senate Armed Services Committee, Submitted by CMR President Elaine Donnelly, Feb. 2, 2016

Official Record of Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, Feb. 2, 2016

  • CMR Statement, pages 22-58
  • Paul Davis, Ph.D. Statement, pages 59-63

Some of the Women in Service Restriction Review (WISRR) documents are posted here, but CMR has learned that about half were omitted from the list posted on the Defense Department website:

The CMR Statement for the Record linked above analyzes many of the flawed expectations incorporated in the Army plan to comply with administration orders:

On July 24, 2013, CMR President Elaine Donnelly submitted a comprehensive statement raising still-unanswered questions about Defense Department plans to order female personnel into direct ground combat battalions.  The 24-page document, which includes links to footnoted sources, is posted on the website of the House Armed Services Committee:

During this time, the House and Senate did not have public hearings on the results of research being conducted by the Army and Marine Corps.

Additional Information issues affecting Army women and men is provided here:

Background & Essential Definitions

Direct Ground Combat More Than Being "In Harm's Way"

The media and many otherwise informed people keep confusing "land combat" with the war zone experience of being "In Harm's Way."  

Without question, American women who have served with skill and courage in recent wars.  Female engagement and cultural support teams have performed valuable work with civilian women and children in Middle East warzones that are “In Harm’s Way.” 

In a war zone, everyone is serving "In Harm's Way."  As stated in long-standing regulations promulgated by then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin in 1994, direct ground combat" (DGC) involves deliberate offensive action to attack  the enemy under fire:

The direct ground combat mission of Marine and Army "tip of the spear" infantry and Special Operations Forces involves attacking the enemy with deliberate offensive action.  Even with advanced technology under “asymmetric” battlefield conditions, direct ground combat missions have not changed.  Because physical requirements are very great, in that environment women do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive.

The 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces published findings that included the definitions of direct ground combat adopted by the various armed services:

Unit Cohesion

Many news reports construe "cohesion" as being well-liked in a given unit.  But that is not the correct definition in armed forces combat units.  The Report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces includes this definition of cohesion, which was explained in detail by Dr. William Daryl Henderson, a member of the commission, who wrote a book on the subject.  (Nov. 15, 1992, Finding 2.5.1, p. C80) It uses the word "survival" three times in one short paragraph and stresses the importance of the group, not the individual:

Cohesion is the relationship that develops in a unit or group where (1) members share common values and experiences; (2) individuals in the group conform to group norms and behavior in order to ensure group survival and goals; (3) members lose their personal identity in favor of a group identity; (4) members focus on group activities and goals; (5) unit members become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and (6) group members must meet all standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival.” (Emphasis added)

The following documents provide historic background on this issue:

  • Elaine Donnelly, Duke University Journal of Gender Law & Policy, Gender, Sexuality & the Military, Constructing the Co-Ed Military, Vol. 14, Issue 2, May 2007, pp. 815-952.
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More information on this and related topics is available in the Issues Research and Analysis Section of this website.