US SOCOM Release

SOF Warriors,

Some recent media reports about the lifting of the combat exclusion for women have been confusing, so I want to clarify our plan for the USSOCOM enterprise.

As you know, the SECDEF rescinded the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule.  Simply put, this means that women are cleared to serve in units whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.

Consequently, we are in the process of implementing the SECDEF’s guidance to integrate women in all combat Military Operational Specialties (MOSs) no later than January 2016.

However, as we begin the implementation process, if we determine that there are SOF unique issues affecting the successful integration of women into SOF, then and only then, will I submit a request for exemption to the SECDEF.

We have had women attached to our combat units for several years as Cultural Support Teams, Civil Affairs, Military Information Support Teams, Intelligence and a host of other MOSs and they have performed magnificently!

The question for SOF is whether we can absorb women into those Special Operations units whose job generally entails small teams, operating for long periods of time, in close proximity to the enemy or behind enemy lines and in close quarters with other soldiers.  And, can we achieve this level of integration without lowering our SOF standards?