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The Army has thoroughly reviewed the existing law, and Department of Defense and Army policies on women in combat, especially as to how they apply to current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and to key Army Transformation initiatives, and determined that the Army is in compliance. Furthermore, existing DOD and Army policies are in compliance with the legislation being proposed under House Resolution 1815. Thus, the proposed legislation contained in HR 1815 is unnecessary, does not provide further clarification, and may in fact lead to confusion on the part of commanders and Soldiers.

There are several inaccuracies and misconceptions concerning the assignment of female Soldiers, especially concerning their role in Forward Support Companies.

First, the Forward Support Companies are not part of, nor do they work for, units below the brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat, such as infantry and armor battalions. The Forward Support Companies provide supply, maintenance, and medical support to these maneuver units, but they are part of, and subordinate to, the Brigade Support Battalion. Under Army Transformation, the Brigade Support Battalion provides logistical support to all units of the new Brigade Combat Team Units of Action.

Second, women assigned to Forward Support Companies do not participate in direct ground combat missions as part of infantry, armor and other units from which they are excluded under current law and policy.

Not withstanding current law, DOD and Army policies, and the proposed legislation, all Soldiers, while performing their assigned duties, may come into harm’s way and, consequently, must defend themselves. The Army takes very seriously its obligation to ensure all Soldiers, regardless of gender, are trained, equipped and organized to defend themselves and their fellow Soldiers.

Our Soldiers, both men and women, volunteered to serve the Nation. They are performing magnificently. Like their male counterparts, women are an invaluable and essential part of the Army team. They play a crucial role in the War on Terrorism and their sacrifices in this noble effort underscore their dedication and call to duty.

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