Women in the Military:

More Military Jobs Can Be Opened Under Current Statutes

NSIAD-88-222: Published: Sep 7, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed issues relating to job opportunities for women in the military services, to determine how: (1) combat exclusion policies affected the number and assignment of women in the military; and (2) military procedures unrelated to combat exclusion limited job opportunities for women.

GAO found that the: (1) military services excluded women from about 1.1 million jobs based on combat exclusion policies and related program needs; (2) services further limited the number of certain noncombat jobs that women could hold based on their job availability policies; (3) Marine Corps distributed some unrestricted noncombat jobs equally between men and women; (4) Navy limited women to no more than one-half of the unrestricted noncombat pilot positions; (5) Air Force limited the number of new pilot and navigator openings available to women; (6) Army limited the number of women it recruited and the availability of jobs to women; and (7) size of the berthing areas on noncombat Navy ships prevented women from filling sea duty positions open to them.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army disagreed with the recommendation. The Army believes that gender-neutral recruiting without specific accession goals would reduce the number of women accessed into the Army.

    Recommendation: To enable the services to obtain the most capable people overall, and to gain the maximum benefit possible from available resources, the Secretary of the Army should remove limits resulting from the implementation of accession goals for women enlistees.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has expanded the number of pilot and navigator positions open to women.

    Recommendation: To enable the services to obtain the most capable people overall, and to gain the maximum benefit possible from available resources, the Secretary of the Air Force should allow all unrestricted pilot and navigator openings to be available for competition based on individual qualifications without regard to gender.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy has implemented a review of ship alteration plans to increase the number of women assigned to sea billets.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should consider berthing area configurations when establishing the male and female distribution of noncombat sea duty positions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Marine Corps was directed to open three of four specialties on a gender neutral basis. The fourth will remain closed because of combat requirements at the C-5 level. Action was taken as of December 16, 1988.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct the Commandant of the Marine Corps to provide open access on a gender-neutral basis to noncombat assignments now equally divided between men and women to reflect the gender composition of the general population.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy completed its review of planning procedures for accession goals, and the new handbook was sent out for printing on August 8, 1990.

    Recommendation: To enable the services to obtain the most capable people overall, and to gain the maximum benefit possible from available resources, the Secretary of the Navy should review the procedures used by officer career field managers for determining proposed female accession goals for women officers to eliminate unnecessary restrictions on job availability which may result from those procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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