We need the most qualified Americans to defend our country – No Exceptions. 

The US Military has finally opened all combat positions to women, but there’s a loophole that threatens these opportunities.

The Opportunity

In January 2013, the Department of Defense lifted the official ban on women serving in combat roles. Qualified women are already excelling in some of these positions. However, the new policy gives the services - the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard – until January 1, 2016 to request exceptions for certain units and jobs.  

Our goal is to build support for full combat inclusion, No Exceptions. 

The Need

The United States military needs the best talent America has to offer, regardless of gender, trained and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.  While women have long been a part of the American military, they have been officially excluded from infantry, artillery, and other ground-combat jobs. Over a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan sent more than 280,000 female troops into war zones and direct combat operations,   proving that women are essential in achieving the mission. Pentagon leaders and veterans say that combat exclusion policies based on gender alone do not make sense.

At a time when the number of Americans actually fit for military service is small – only 25 percent of male and female youth aged 17 to 24 meet the current standards to even sign up – we cannot afford policies that significantly reduce the military’s talent pool.  

We need our very best on the front lines to keep America safe.

The Plan

Our goal is to continue the momentum toward full combat inclusion. Leveraging the power of a nationwide community of post-9/11 combat veterans, allied organizations, and military leaders, we are reshaping the national conversation about women in combat and holding policymakers accountable for their words and actions. 

Together, we can ensure the most qualified Americans defend our country, regardless of gender. No Exceptions. 

Collaborators

No Exceptions, an initiative of the Truman Project and the Center for National Policy, has many partners in the fight. Learn more: 

In the News

The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.
— Gen Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

In response to the USMC memo to Congress that was leaked in the media read our thoughts on the holes in the logic to keep women out of combat arms.

Lightning, cancer and camaraderie: The gritty stories of today’s Ranger School graduates

August 21, 2015: Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post

Second Lt. Michael V. Janowski’s assessment Thursday of how he would have done in Ranger School without the partner assigned to him was blunt: “I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for Shaye,” he said.

 

First female graduates of Ranger School earn elite tab

August 21, 2015: Robert Burns, AP

The first female soldiers to complete the Army’s rigorous Ranger School pinned on their black-and-gold Ranger tab at a raucous graduation ceremony Friday, capping their history-making week and putting a spotlight on the debate over women in combat.

 

Now, Open the Ranger Regiment to Women

August 20, 2015: John Rodriguez, The New York Times, The Opinion Pages

Two Army officers, Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, have just proved to the world that women have what it takes to pass one of the toughest courses in the U.S. military. 


DIG DEEPER AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMBAT EXCLUSION BAN DEADLINE FOR THE ARMY, AIR FORCE, MARINE CORPS, NAVY AND COAST GUARD TO REQUEST EXCEPTIONS FOR CERTAIN UNITS OR JOBS. YOU CAN BROWSE the Archived NEWS SECTION, CHECK OUT OUR BLOG ENTITLED "READ UP" AND FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.   


Publications

 

Women at War

Women at War, edited by retired Army Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie and Army National Guard Col. Anne Naclerio, doesn't question whether women should be in combat, since they have been for years. Rather, it aggregates the scant data on the effects of war and military service on women, from the physical impact and psychological consequences to influence on relationships, financial stability, and long-term health.

Interested readers can pick up a copy at a 30 percent discount using the promo code AMPROMD9 at the Oxford University Press web site.

 

Beyond the Band of Brothers: The US Military and the Myth that Women Can't Fight

Women can't fight. This assumption lies at the heart of the combat exclusion, a policy that was fiercely defended as essential to national security, despite evidence that women have been contributing to hostile operations now and throughout history. Beyond the Band of Brothers: The US Military and the Myth that Women Can't Fight examines the role of women in the US military and the key arguments used to justify the combat exclusion, in the light of the decision to reverse the policy in 2013. 

Megan MacKenzie considers the historic role of the combat exclusion in shaping American military identity and debunks claims that the recent policy change signals a new era for women in the military. MacKenzie shows how women's exclusion from combat reaffirms male supremacy in the military and sustains a key military myth, the myth of the band of brothers. This book will be welcomed by scholars and students of military studies, gender studies, social and military history, and foreign policy.