SUMMARY: Leaders of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) are split on their position on women in combat in the military, but more specifically, women in special operations. Army General James Votel, who has led SOCOM since August 2014 has supported women in combat, provided they meet existing standards. Retired Admiral Eric Olson, SOCOM commander from 2007 – 2011, sidestepped the question of standards to raise issues with women taking “the first bullet on target” and selective service. On the matter of selective service, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James was supportive of women registering.
So where does SOCOM stand? What has it learnt from deploying female teams with Special Forces for years in Afghanistan (see https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-08-12/true-grit)? Will SOCOM ask for exceptions to the combat exclusion on October 1st?
SOURCE: Richard Sisk, July 28 2015, ‘Current and Past SOCOM Commanders Split on Women in Combat,’ Military Times, http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/07/28/current-and-past-socom-commanders-split-on-women-in-combat.html