U.S. Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D—N.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, on Friday, Feb. 10, commented on the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to serve in more jobs closer to the front lines.
“Since coming to the Senate, I have fought to ensure America’s servicewomen are afforded the same opportunities for promotion as their male counterparts,” said Hagan. “The Pentagon’s recommendation is welcome progress and will open up more than 14,000 additional jobs to women in the Armed Forces. Nevertheless, more must be done to provide women in the Armed Services equal opportunities for advancement.
“I have long said that the armed forces must come up with a mechanism to give women the same leadership opportunities as their male counterparts so that they can equitably compete for advancement and promotion. Military women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have been engaged in activities that are consideredcombat-related, including serving side by side with combat units and engaging in direct combat for self defense. These brave women are exposed to the same risks as their male counterparts—including IEDs—and should be eligible for the same opportunities for advancement. As a proud member of a military family, I have nothing but the utmost respect for our troops—both men and women—and the rigorous training they undergo.”
The Pentagon’s announcement in a Department of Defense report required by the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which Senator Hagan supported. The report notified Congress that the Department of Defense intends to make two changes to rules in place since 1994 governing the service of female members of the armed forces: first, occupations will no longer be closed to women solely because the positions are required to be co-located with ground combat units; and second, a sizable number of positions will be opened to women at the battalion level in select direct ground combat units in specific occupations. Department of Defense will also continue to assess their experience with these changes to help determine whether future modifications to the 1994 rules are appropriate.
Hagan is proud and honored to have had the aid of four servicewomen in her Senate Office. Navy Veteran Jean Reaves served as a WAVE during the Vietnam era. Today, Reaves provides Veteran Affairs Services for Senator Hagan’s office. North Carolina National Guard Cpt. Jennifer Hartsock is currently Senator Hagan’s Military Liason. Hartsock served more than five years of active duty in the Army after graduating from West Point, including a 2007 Iraq tour as a Battle Captain with a Combat Engineer Unit. Lt. Col. Kristin McCann is a United States Marine and serves as a Defense Legislative Fellow to Senator Hagan. Captain Laura Keenan preceded Lt. Col. McCann as the Senator's Defense Legislative Fellow.