As questions swirl over whether President-elect Donald Trump will seek to roll back recent social changes in the military, the outgoing defense secretary said the push to open more combat jobs to women “makes sense.”
Speaking to reporters traveling with him to military installations around the U.S., Ashton Carter said of the Obama administration’s rule change to let more women serve in combat roles, “It makes sense.”
The secretary said, “Females are half of our population. We’re an all-volunteer force. So we recruit from the population it makes sense for us to recruit people, from as wide a population as possible.”
Carter added, “Now they have to be qualified, but it’s a benefit to our military to be able to draw from what is a competitive [market] … to have the ability to have access to the best people we can.”
Trump is facing calls from some conservatives to undo the women-in-combat provisions, which affects a large portion of the military — hundreds of thousands of troops — serving in combat-related military occupational specialties.
“Those policies have to be rolled back,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, which opposed lifting the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to allow gay troops to openly serve in the ranks, according to an article by Andrew Tilghman of Military Times.
“Right now the policy is that women can and will be assigned to ground combat units,” she said, according to the report. “That pronouncement can indeed be changed by a future secretary of defense.”
Read more of this story at Military.com.