Armed Services panels to review Pentagon push for women in combat

Armed Services panels to review Pentagon push for women in combat
© Getty

The House and Senate Armed Services committees will review the Pentagon’s decision to open all combat jobs to women, the chairmen said Thursday, citing Congress’s “constitutional role to make rules” for the military.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's "decision to open combat positions to women will have a consequential impact on our service members and our military's warfighting capabilities,” Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryUnnamed law enforcement banned under the new NDAA Lobbying world Senate poised to override Trump's defense bill veto MORE (R-Texas) said in a joint statement Thursday. “The Congress has an essential constitutional role to make rules for the government and regulation of our nation's armed forces.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Earlier Thursday, Carter announced that all combat positions would be open to women. The move comes after the Marines had requested an exemption to a 2013 order that lifted the ban on women serving in combat jobs.

"There will be no exceptions," Carter said.

Congress has 30 days to review the effects of the decision.

Their committees will use that time to review all the documents Carter used to make his decision, Thornberry and McCain said. That includes analyzing the 1,000-page Marine study that concluded ground combat units with both genders were less effective than those with just men.

“We expect the department to send over its implementation plans as quickly as possible to ensure our committees have all the information necessary to conduct proper and rigorous oversight,” they said.

Meanwhile, Democrats expressed their support for the decision.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake MORE (D-R.I.), said that while it will take time for the change to be implemented, combat units will ultimately be stronger when integrated. 

“Letting combat-qualified women serve their country to the fullest of their ability is a smart move that strengthens our nation,” he said in a written statement. “I applaud the administration’s decision to remove, once and for all, arbitrary barriers to service by women in our Armed Forces.”

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (D-Va.) echoed Reed's sentiment.

“Very supportive of @DeptofDefense decision to open all combat positions to women," he tweeted. "Time for this barrier to be eliminated #WomenWhoServe."