The US Army’s Gender Integration Implementation Plan has recommended a ‘leader-first’ approach to gender integration in the last 19 specialty roles in the US military.
The plan suggests the army begin training women for infantry and armour specialties in gradual phases later this year.
The initial phase will train female officers in combat arms this summer after thier graduation from the US Military Academy, ROTC.
Army chief of staff general Mark A. Milley said: "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."
Beginning in April, Phase II includes a new occupational physical assessment test (OPAT) to evaluate the ability of a recruit or cadet to perform physically demanding MOS tasks.
Phase III will see new female recruits being assigned to operational units, starting with infantry and armour units.
The fourth and the final phase represent full operational capability and re-validates MOS screening requirements.
US Army Acting Secretary Patrick J. Murphy said: "We’re not going to turn our back on 50% of the population.
"We are opening up every occupation to women. I think that’s pretty historic."
The decision will open up nearly 220,000 positions for women in infantry, reconnaissance, and special operations units.
Image: Katherine Beatty, the first women to graduate 13B training. Photo: courtesy of Cindy McIntyre / US Army.