January 30, 2013
Last week U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted the ban on U.S. military women serving in combat positions.
Now that the military ban has been lifted, it is time to make what is written on paper a reality.
U.Va Law Professor Anne Coughlin along with U.S. Army Col. Ellen Haring have been leading the charge to allow women to fight on the front lines. This Friday in Washington D.C. she will help lead a series of discussions on how to implement the change.
Topics like coming up with physical requirements that do not discriminate against men or women will be discussed.
"But obviously there is going to be a lot of work done to implement the move to full integration, so there are a lot of questions on the table," says Coughlin. "What is the process we?re going to follow to ensure that physical fitness standards and other kinds of issues are solved so that women can step up and start doing these jobs?"
The symposium will be held in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and will include panels of women who are in combat as well as members of the Marine Corps who will discuss the concerns about lifting the combat restrictions.
Coughlin says overall she is pleased with the lifting of the ban, but is concerned that women could still be excluded from some elite units like the Special Forces.