The US armed Forces are the 2nd largest military in the world with 1 400 000 people on active duty, split into five departments: the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the Coast Guard. The majority of the military is used to be made up of men, though women have also been involved for a long time in the safety of their country. Today, they arepresent in each department and they represent 15% of the American strength. However women have been prohibited from some active combat roles. Moreover many American citizens and servicemen are still dubious about a female presence in the Armed Forces which are supposed to defend the country. In the US, these differences have led to wonder how women are an advantage or a disadvantage for the ArmedForces. Through examples of men and women on active duty, physical, psychological and tactical concerns will be developed.
Some of the most obvious reasons which explain the low number of servicewomen are physical. Though some women are as strong as servicemen, most of them do not have the physical attributes to be efficient for combat roles. There are even more physical concerns if it comes toentering women in a nuclear submarine crew. Doses of radiation from nuclear submarine reactors can result in infertility, since women do not continually produce eggs as men do with sperm. The Center for Military Readiness stated that “Female soldiers are, on average, shorter and smaller than men, with 45-50% less upper body strength and 25-30% less aerobic capacity, which is essential forendurance.” That is why women are more often appointed to a post, on which physical strength is not necessary. However, their contribution is very important. They may not fight in front lines but they are in charge of technical, medical or administrative duties.
Psychological concerns are another important part of the debate. Romantic relationships between men and women from the same unit areunavoidable. That may help soldiers to keep on their mission, which means romance may contribute to the unit efficiency. But it can also make the unit organization more complicated. Couples are easily distracted and they are less focused on their job. That is how mistakes and accidents happen. Moreover, it is not always easy for couples to stay together after a common mission. Indeed, they may then beappointed to different bases. Otherwise can you imagine how more complicated the job would be for people in charge of the posting if couples within the Armed Forces want to stay at the same place? The leaders also fear that a high number of servicewomen would deliberately become pregnant in order to escape combat duties.
Lynndie England, a young American servicewoman, has become sadly famous after amistake during a mission in Iraq. The story has been brought to light in October 2003 when some media published photos from an Iraqi prison in Abou Ghraib representing mistreated detainees. On several pictures, Lynndie England, 21 years old, looking young and innocent, is posing doing a thumbs-up sign. These pictures of a young female soldier laughing at the humiliation inflicted on the prisonersbecame immediately a scandal and everyone in America was shocked. But the explanation of such a situation only came the day of her trial. England was a soldier in the 372nd Military Police Company and was in charge of the administrative duty. So she had no reason to be in the prison where detainees were held except meeting the man she was in love with: a strong soldier named Charles Graner, 35years old. In an interview for the Guardians published on January 16th 2009, Janis Karpinski, the commanding officer in charge of the prison, said: “In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector”. England is easily influenced and Graner is manipulative. No longer after they met, the situation went wrong. “They said in the trial that authority figures...