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Army Plans To Open All Field Artillery Jobs To Women, Except One

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno confirmed Monday the Army plans to open all field artillery jobs to women, except for one.

The Army intends to make a final decision on the military occupational specialty (MOS) of fire support specialist when it discusses infantry and armor specialties, mostly because the two go hand in hand, Army Times reports.

In 2012, the Army removed gender barriers to 13,000 jobs. The service wants to try and eliminate most—if not all—barriers by the end of 2015. Since 2012, the Army has conducted extensive tests to determine whether women are capable of serving in various roles.

“We’ve done a lot of pilot programs, we’ve done a lot of physical testing, we’ve done a lot of testing on how we integrate women into units, and those are all going well,” Odierno said, according to Army Times. “We want the best person, if they’re qualified and meet the standards, we want to give them the opportunity to do whatever they want.”

Integrating women for a one-time assessment into Ranger School is one such pilot program. Last Friday, two female students passed the Mountain Phase and moved onto Swamp Phase two days later. If they successfully complete the Swamp Phase, the two will be the first ever females to graduate from Ranger School. (RELATED: Two Female Students Are Now One Step Closer To Becoming First Ever Women Rangers)

“They can go to airborne school, they can go to sapper school. I think they should be able to go to Ranger School,” Odierno said, while insisting that Ranger School standards would remain the same.

Ranger School won’t be the only integrated assessment. The Army is also looking into establishing a semi-annual course.

Meritocracy has recently taken a central focus in the debate on women and sexual minorities in the military. For Defense Secretary Ash Carter and other military officials, identity does not matter, so long as a servicemember is able to do the job.

“Recognizing that our openness to diversity is one of the things that have allowed us to be the best in the world, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so,” Carter said at the LGBT pride month ceremony in June. “And we must start from a position of inclusivity, not exclusivity.  Anything less is not just plain wrong; it’s bad defense policy, and puts our future strength at risk.”

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