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Army Studies Effect of Opening Jobs to Women

Oct. 21, 2013 - 09:59AM   |  
By Antonieta Rico Staff writer   |   Comments
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The eight combat jobs now closed to women are:
In the infantry:
■11B infantryman
■11C indirect fire infantryman
In field artillery:
■13B cannon crewmember
■13D field artillery automated tactical data systems specialist
■13F fire support specialist
In armor:
■19D cavalry scout
■19K M1 armor crewman
In engineering:
■12B combat engineer
Source: Army Recruiting Command

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Combat engineer jobs are likely to open to women next year as the Army looks to integrate women into combat arms roles by 2016.

The Army has set a deadline of July 1, 2014, to open MOS 12B, or combat engineer, one of the eight military occupational specialties considered combat jobs now closed to women.

Six other MOSs were opened to women in 2013.

The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command is leading two studies to ensure a “deliberate approach” to bringing women into closed MOSs, including a job-specific study to establish the physical requirements necessary to do certain jobs. There is also a “cultural gender integration” study to examine how combat MOS soldiers’ and units’ morale will be affected by having to work with women.

MOS-specific physical demands

The physical demands study will measure how soldiers complete specific physical tasks to determine whether a soldier coming into the Army can meet the physical requirements of an Army combat job. The results will be used to create an Army entry test to be given to soldiers seeking combat jobs.

The physical tasks that will make up the tests will be gender-neutral “to determine if soldiers have the right match physically to go into a specific occupation,” said Thomas DeFilippo, the TRADOC planner for the two studies.

In 2014, the physical demands study will work on developing the entry test for the combat engineer job, which should be established and validated by the end of the fiscal year, he said.

Because the combat engineer MOS is the first to open, collection of the information needed for that MOS has been accelerated to meet the deadlines, DeFilippo said.

The physical measurements taken include measuring heart rate and oxygen intake as soldiers perform job-specific tasks, DeFilippo said.

Tests for other combat jobs closed to women will be developed similar to that for 12B.Seven of the eight combat MOSs closed to women will have their entry tests completed when the study is finished at the end of fiscal 2015.

MOS 13D, field artillery automated tactical data systems specialist, is closed to women,but does not have high physical demands and is not included in the seven jobs being tested, said Ray Harp, a spokesman for TRADOC.

The study this summer identified physical tasks for all seven occupations, DeFilippo said, and the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine conducted focus groups across those MOSsto get soldiers’ feedback on the physical tasks that were identified.

In 2014, the institute will continue taking measurements for the other closed MOSs in line with the deadlines for opening each MOS to women.

Gender integration study

The gender integration study, being carried out by the TRADOC Analysis Center, also must be done by September 2015.

The study is meant to assess the cultural and institutional impacts of having women in the now-closed MOSs so the Army can develop strategies to integrate women smoothly, DeFilippo said.

“We want to look at any factors that might affect integration,” he said.

The study has collected a lot of data from surveys and focus groups, starting with the combat engineer field, to gauge how soldiers and commanders feel working alongside women.

“They’ve got a lot of feedback from across the Army,” DeFilippo said. “They are roughly about a third of the way through that study.”

In 2014, site visits and focus groups are planned across different audiences of the Army, DeFilippo said.■

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