Army Will Not Lift “Women in Combat” Ban; Rep. Maloney Says Women Are Already in Battle

Jan 19, 2005
Press Release

 WASHINGTON, DC - The Washington Times reported today that after months of deliberation, the Army will not lift its ban on women in ground combat or in units that embed with ground combat soldiers. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), who has closely scrutinized the Bush administration’s treatment of women in the military, said in response that female soldiers are already involved in fighting in Iraq, so the ban is misleading.  

“At this point, banning female soldiers from combat is just a game of semantics, but the DoD needs to confront reality,” said Maloney. “Servicewomen are an indispensable part of our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are carrying firearms, they are involved in the fighting and they have been killed in battle. In Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no longer a front line and a back line, away from combat.

“This administration has again let out-of-date ideology impede opportunities for the military to make better use of servicewomen on the changing battlefield.”

Maloney has released a report on the Bush Administration’s treatment of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), a panel that supports servicewomen ( The report contains five key findings:

  • the Bush administration has cut the membership, staffing, and funding for DACOWITS;
  • the Administration has revoked much of the committee’s autonomy by giving control to the Pentagon;
  • the Administration has watered down DACOWITS’ attention to women’s issues;
  • the Administration has reduced the number of installations that DACOWITS visits each year and has hindered its effectiveness by requiring committee members to travel to installations in groups; and
  • DACOWITS membership is now less diverse, and the member selection and replacement process is less transparent.