SECDEF Aspin Lifts Ban on Combat Flights for Women

 SECDEF Aspin Lifts Ban on Combat Flights for Women
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 NNS320.  SECDEF Aspin Lifts Ban on Combat Flights for Women
 WASHINGTON (NNS) -- In a DoD press briefing held at the Pentagon
 today (April 28), Secretary of Defense Les Aspin announced major
 changes to the future roles of women in the military, including
 permitting women to compete for assignments in aircraft engaged in
 combat missions.

 Chief of Naval Operations ADM Frank B. Kelso II expressed the
 complete support of Navy leadership at all levels regarding the
 change in policy.  "We have women flying F-18's today, we have
 women in our electronic warfare squadrons, and we think that they
 can transition into combat squadrons within a period of a few
 months if the combat exclusion law is changed so they can go on
 carriers, and then I think within six months we can make this
 happen," said ADM Kelso.

 ADM Kelso continued, "As you know, we also have four women in
 command of ships today.  We have ships in the fleet that are 40
 percent manned by women, so I think we know that we can go forward
 in this direction and do it in a satisfactory way for all of them.
 We will submit the legislation to make this happen as soon as we

 "So I'm very pleased to be a part of this.  I want to say that
 I think we owe a great debt to our young men and women in uniform,
 that they have brought us to this historic occasion to make this
 step to go forward, and the Navy is ready to go with it," said ADM

 The current wording of Title 10, U.S. Code 6015 (amended by
 FY-92 Authorization Bill), referred to by ADM Kelso, states, "Women
 may not be assigned to combat duty in vessels or in aircraft that
 are engaged in combat missions (other than as aviation officers as
 part of an air wing or other air element assigned to such a
 vessel), nor may they be assigned to other than temporary duty on
 other vessels of the Navy except for hospital ships, transports,
 and vessels of a similar classification not expected to be assigned
 a combat mission."

 The text of SECDEF Aspin's statement is as follows:
 QUOTE:  The essence of the new policy is that the military
 services are to open up more specialties and assignments to women.
 First, all of the services are to allow women to compete for
 assignments in combat aircraft.

 Second, the Navy is to open up additional ships to women.
 Third, I am instructing the Navy to draft a proposal, which I
 shall forward to Congress, that would remove the last legislative
 barrier to the assignment of women to combat vessels.

 Fourth, the Army and Marine Corps are being instructed to look
 for opportunities for women to serve in positions such as field
 artillery and air defense.

 The result of all this will be that the services will be able
 to call on a much larger pool of talent to perform the vital tasks
 that our military forces must perform in the post-Cold War world.
 With that smaller force, we are expected to meet a diverse
 array of challenges, from deterring aggression by a major military
 power to delivering humanitarian aid to places such as Somalia.
 In order to do the jobs well, we need to recruit the best
 talent we can find and assign the most qualified individual for
 each military job.  Right now, we aren't doing that.  Many
 important military jobs are closed to women, and as long as that is
 the case, we cannot be sure that we are putting the very best
 person in the job.

 Women have proved that they can contribute to the readiness
 and effectiveness of the force.  We know from experience that women
 can fly our high performance fighter aircraft.  We know from
 experience that they perform well in assignments at sea.  And we
 know, from Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield, that women stand
 up to the most demanding environments.

 So, we are acting on what we know.  Much that I am directing
 the services to do can be done fairly quickly.

 For example, I expect that, within a matter of weeks, women
 who have been trained to fly the Army's Blackhawk helicopter will
 be competing for assignments to train for high-performance
 helicopters such as the Cobra and the Apache.  The Navy already has
 developed a list of ships that can be opened up to women.
 However, there is still much to do in order to ensure that the
 services implement the policy consistently.

 We need to examine a number of areas, such as deployability
 policies and the "risk rule," that may be affected by this change
 in policy.

 I am establishing a committee, consisting of the senior
 personnel officials at OSD, the services and the Joint Chiefs, to
 oversee work on some of the longer-term issues.

 The steps we are taking today are historic.  They will open up
 a range of new opportunities for women in the Armed Forces.  They
 also constitute a vital part of our effort to ensure the readiness
 and effectiveness of our military forces.

 I want to thank the chiefs of the military services for
 helping us get to this point.  All of them have been working on
 this and their ideas are reflected in the new policy.  UNQUOTE.

 Compiled from official sources


 RADM Evans Addresses Opportunities for Women in Navy

 WASHINGTON (NNS) -- RADM Marsha Evans, the Executive Director of
 the Standing Committee on Military and Civilian Women in the
 Department of the Navy, will visit several naval facilities
 throughout the month of May to talk to Navy people about
 opportunities for women in the Navy and the Navy's continuing
 efforts to ensure an environment free of sexual harassment.
 RADM Evans' schedule is as follows:

 Date                Place
 May 3-4         Naples
 5               Sigonella
 6               Rota
 7-8             London
 10              Keflavik
 17              Seattle (Bremerton/Whidbey)
 18              San Francisco
 19-20           San Diego (NASNI, NTC, NAVSTA, Miramar, SUBASE)
 23-24           Yokosuka
 25              Sasebo
 27              Guam
 28-29           Hawaii (Pearl Harbor, Barbers Point)

 On Sept. 30, 1992, the Committee recommended 80 initiatives to
 eradicate sexual harassment from the Navy's ranks and enhance
 professional opportunities for uniformed and civilian women in the
 Department of the Navy.

 The Standing Committee on Military and Civilian Women in the
 Department of the Navy is a permanent committee formed in July 1992
 to advise the Secretary of the Navy on ways to ensure the effective
 integration of women within the service.

 Compiled from official sources