A force integration plan sent to top Marine Corps officers and enlisted leaders March 12 by the commandant reveals that more women will be assigned to previously closed combat arms units, but emphasizes the service will be prepared to seek exceptions to the 2013 Defense Department directive that opens all combat roles to women by Jan. 1, 2016.
The possibility of women serving in infantry, reconnaissance and special operations specialties has generated the most controversy since then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta rescinded the Direct Ground Combat and Assignment Rule, which excluded women from direct ground combat.
“My decision to integrate or recommend an (exception to policy) will be based on my foremost guiding principle: fielding a Marine Corps that is ready to fight and win on short notice, in the most difficult and uncertain circumstances,” Gen. Jim Amos asserts in the force integration plan,which was obtained by Marine Corps Times. “We will maintain our high standards while ensuring the maximum success for every Marine.”
The commandant could also request extensions past the 2016 deadline “if necessary,” according to the integration road map.