The Army is nearing completion of the effort to integrate female soldiers into its brigade combat teams (BCTs). Women will join the service’s final nine BCTs, following a modified requirement that each unit with female junior enlisted members would have at least two female leaders.
Female soldiers have held positions in the infantry and armor military occupational specialties (MOSs) for three years.
Their presence has “changed the culture” of the Army, Maj. Melissa Comiskey, chief of command policy, Army G-1, said.
Initially, the integration of women called for a “leaders first” policy, which meant that two female officers or non-commissioned officers (NCOs) would be assigned to each company that accepted women for initial training. The rule was amended last year to require that only one female armor or infantry leader is needed in each company, along with another woman from a different MOS.
The latest change reduces the number further, requiring only one female officer or NCO per company.
The change also applies to Army National Guard units, which now are authorized to lift the leaders-first policy for all battalions that have integrated junior enlisted women into their ranks successfully for the past 12 to 15 months.
The Army now has 601 women in infantry career fields, and another 568 in armor – including enlisteds and officers. Incorporation of women into the nine remaining all-male BCTs has been delayed because too few female leaders in infantry and armor were in the pipeline. With more women completing Infantry and Armor Basic Officer Leadership courses, the female ranks are increasing accordingly.