Defense Secretary Leon “Panther” Panetta grabbed the spotlight earlier today with his surprise announcement that the Pentagon would lift the ban preventing women from serving in combat roles, but Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wasn’t happy that Congress wasn’t briefed on the news first.
Not that Army veteran Inhofe is opposed to the idea of women serving in combat; rather, he’s afraid the lack of details means that “a broad opening of combat roles for women” isn’t likely anytime soon.
Briefed or not, Inhofe’s colleague Sen. McCain was quick to lend his support Pantetta’s decision.
I respect and support Secretary Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat. The fact is that American women are already serving in harm’s way today all over the world and in every branch of our armed forces. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, and our nation owes them a deep debt of gratitude. As this new rule is implemented, it is critical that we maintain the same high standards that have made the American military the most feared and admired fighting force in the world – particularly the rigorous physical standards for our elite special forces units.
Inhofe himself noted from experience that men and women have similar skill sets.