Service leaders submitted their reports on women in combat yesterday to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter indicated it should take “months” to go through the recommendations.
The reporters include the service branches’ “recommendations on positions they plan to open to women, as well as any exceptions to opening all combat specialties to women.”
“When I myself review these reports over coming months, I will be focused on the quality of information and the analysis behind the recommendations. I want to hear from everyone, but I’m less interested in who said what, but why they are saying it,” Carter told reporters Wednesday at the Pentagon.
“And to be clear, I will carefully review the information and analysis from all four services and Special Operations Command to make my final determination.”
Carter added that as secretary of Defense, “I’m committed to seeing this through, because attracting the best and staying the best means that wherever possible, we must open ourselves to the talents and strengths of all Americans who can contribute with excellence to our force.”
“As I’ve said before, everyone who is able and willing to serve and can meet the standards we require should have the full opportunity to do so,” he added.
Asked if the Marine Corps has asked for an exemption in order to bar women from some infantry units, Carter said he didn’t want to “characterize recommendations” that hadn’t personally been made to him yet.
“Remember the process here, which is the services are doing analysis. What they owe to, first, the chairman, and ultimately to me by the end of the year, is their analysis, their studies, and their thoughts, both about which specialties, if any, should be left closed to women. And importantly, how they intend to make any adaptations that are required,” he said.
“…The only point I wanted to make is I am going to be very facts based and analysis based. I want to see the grounds upon which any actions that we take at the first of the year are going to be made. That’s the frame under which I’ll be looking at.”