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Army Outlines Gender Integration Implementation Plan

Capt. Kristen Griest and U.S. Army Ranger School Class 08-15 render a salute during their graduation at Fort Benning, Ga., Aug. 21, 2015. Griest and class member 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first female graduates of Ranger school. Griest was recently selected as the Army's first female Infantry Officer. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez/ Released)

WASHINGTON (May 10, 2016) — The Army announced today progress made with its implementation plan for integrating women into all military occupational specialties.

The plan, unveiled March 10, paves the way for qualified women to serve in the infantry, armor, and special forces.

To date, 22 women successfully enlisted in infantry and armor career fields and 23 women cadets or officers successfully branched into the infantry or armor. Soldiers who meet career field entry requirements must then successfully complete the career field’s training requirements to be awarded the applicable military occupational specialty. Currently no applicants, enlisted or officer, have been assessed into special forces.

Initially, the Army is managing the assignments of women through a “leader first” approach. Women are eligible to branch as infantry and armor officers, followed then by female enlisted Soldiers to ensure they are assigned to operational units with integrated women leaders. These first women leaders are expected to arrive at their follow-on units after training in the early parts of 2017.

Under the new policies, all Soldiers have the opportunity to serve in any occupational specialty based on their individual capabilities and desires and the needs of the Army. The policies allow the Army to recruit Soldiers and leaders from a larger pool of qualified personnel.

“We’re not going to turn our back on 50 percent of the population,” said Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy. “We are opening up every occupation to women. I think that’s pretty historic.”

The Army is implementing full integration through five lines of effort: updating physical and administrative screening standards; managing talent to select, train, and promote the best qualified Soldiers; building integrated units; educating Soldiers and leaders and communicating how gender integration increases the readiness of the Army; and continually assessing integration strategies to successfully posture the force.

“An incremental and phased approach by leaders and Soldiers who understand and enforce gender-neutral standards will ensure successful integration of women across the breadth and depth of our formations,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley.

Between May 2012 and October 2015, the Army led all services in gender integration by opening more than 95,000 positions and nine occupations to women. In 2015, three Soldiers became the first women to complete Army Ranger School, one of the most demanding leadership schools in the United States military.

The Secretary of Defense’s Dec. 3, 2015 decision opens an additional 220,000 positions to women; however, the force drawdown and continued force structure changes will affect any final numbers. As the department continues modernizing and innovating to stay ahead of future threats, its senior leaders have said they will develop policies and set