A Tactical Air Control Party Airman with the New Jersey Air National Guard's 227th Air Support Operations Squadron scans the training area for targets on Warren Grove Range, N.J., Jan. 31, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard/Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)
The U.S. Air Force is hopeful it could have its first female battlefield airman this spring.
In written testimony before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on personnel, Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said one woman is making her way through the grueling challenges of Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) training.
Future Soldiers from the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion, recite the oath of enlistment, during a mass enlistment ceremony, Nov. 18, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. The ceremony took place shortly before a National Football League game between the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Alun Thomas, USAREC Public Affairs)
A federal judge has ruled that a men-only draft is unconstitutional, but he stopped short of ordering the Selective Service System to register women for military service.
The Houston judge sided with a San Diego men's advocacy group that challenged the government's practice of having only men sign up for the draft, citing sex discrimination in violation of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection clause.
"This case balances on the tension between the constitutionally enshrined power of Congress to raise armies and the constitutional mandate that no person be denied the equal protection of the law," wrote U.S. District Judge Gray Miller of the Southern District of Texas.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013 against the Selective Service System by Texas resident James Lesmeister, who later added San Diego resident Anthony Davis and the San Diego-based National Coalition for Men as additional plaintiffs.
The two men had standing to sue the government because they were within the age range of 18 to 26 in which men in the United States are required to register with Selective Service.
U.S. Marine Corps recruits with Platoon 4030, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, perform rifle manual marching movements during an initial drill evaluation June 25, 2018, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Dana Beesley)
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
Barely a day after declaring during a visit to the Virginia Military Institute that "the jury is out” on the effectiveness of women in infantry roles in the Army and Marine Corps, Defense Secretary James Mattis begrudgingly sought to clarify his statement on the matter and walk back his perceived dismissal of female combat troops.