Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement on the announcement that Secretary Carter will allow for all military positions to be open to women:
I applaud Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for taking action on policy guidelines that close certain combat occupations to women. As a result of these changes, anyone, regardless of gender, who can meet operationally relevant standards, will have the opportunity to serve in any position in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Prior to today’s announcement, certain exceptions allowed for women to be barred from various combat roles in the military. This critical step towards allowing women to serve in all levels of our military is a strong move towards achieving full equality in our Armed Forces. Today’s announcement is a response to extensive review by the Department of Defense of policies governing the assignment of women in the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense is opening to women the approximately 213,600 previously closed positions spanning 52 closed military occupational specialties. This announcement follows five years of detailed review of current policies.
As we saw earlier this year, two women made history as the first female soldiers to complete the Army’s Ranger School. Men and woman can, and should, be held to the same standard in the military. I am a committed supporter of equality. I recognize that there is a lot of work that remains to be done to ensure that all Americans are equal under the law, and will continue to advocate for further review of existing policies that ensure equal rights for all service members.