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News Tip: Women in Combat Raises Many Questions, Military Expert Says

The Defense Department announced Thursday that it’s opening combat jobs to women.•    Quotes: “It is quintessentially ‘American’ to give everyone a chance to achieve their dreams, so I’m not really surprised at the decision, which I basically support,” says Duke University law professor Charlie Dunlap Jr., an expert on warfare policy and strategy.  “However, since we are altering a formula that has produced the greatest military the world has ever seen, we need to watch very carefully for unintended costs and consequences. Building a cohesive and effective fighting force involves psychological and social factors that are much more than easily-quantifiable factors such as how well someone shoots or how long they can march. That said, I do expect that in order to show real integration of women into physically-demanding combat roles, the political realities will compel the military toward what some will insist is a lowering of standards.” “This decision also eviscerates what had been the legal rationale for a male-only draft registration. Women’s service in a direct combat role may not always be a choice, but rather they might be involuntarily put into the infantry as conscripted men have been in past wars. And because direct combat roles increase the chances of capture, we need to steel ourselves as to how our enemies might react, especially given the depraved way ISIS leader Abu al-Baghdadi treated his American captive Kayla Mueller before her death.”•    Bio: Charlie Dunlap Jr., professor of the practice at Duke Law School and executive director of Duke's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, specializes in warfare policy and strategy, cyber-warfare, military commissions, counterinsurgency, nuclear issues and air power; a former deputy judge advocate general of the U.S. Air Force, Dunlap retired from military service in June 2010 as a major general.•    Archive video interview (different subject):•    For additional comment, contact Dunlap