The Pentagon’s announcement that it is lifting the ban on women in combat raises a host of questions that the military will have to address. Here’s a few of them:
How many combat positions are there in the military?
As in all militaries, U.S. combat troops are a relatively small percentage of the overall force. The U.S. military has 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and women are barred from 237,000 positions, according to the Pentagon. The Pentagon will now be reviewing those positions, and many will be opened up to women.
A large number of those combat positions are in infantry, which means they are primarily in the Army, with a smaller number in the Marines. By comparison, the Navy and the Air Force have fewer combat positions that have been off-limits to women.
Will women still be barred from some units?
All of the service branches are supposed to come up with plans by May 15 for integrating women into combat positions and for requesting exemptions, Pentagon officials said.
The services are most likely to request exemptions in elite units where only a small percentage of men are able to meet the demanding standards, such as the Navy SEALs and the Army’s Rangers and Green Berets.