G.I. Jane, it turns out, has learned something that G.I. Joe has known since grunts put on uniforms: Never volunteer.
After years of a contentious national debate over whether women should be allowed on the front lines, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced with great fanfare last December that combat roles would be open to all, regardless of gender.
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The new policy was implemented in January, but as the fight over women in combat continues, the Army’s top Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) says that not enough women are applying for fighting jobs, according to the Army Times.
In a memo to the troops, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey said that while about 100 women have volunteered for roles such as infantry soldiers, cavalry scouts and tank crewmembers, “Unfortunately, we have not had a sufficient number of serving female soldiers and [noncommissioned officers] volunteer to transfer into these mentorship and leadership roles,” the Army Times reported.
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The Army’s battle plan for integrating women into some of the 220,000 previously restricted jobs is to first train female lieutenants and sergeants for combat before folding in lower-ranking soldiers.
The Army Times said that thus far, 22 women have been commissioned as second lieutenants in the infantry and in armor units.