Women Soldiers in Combat Arms: Creating the Momentum for Change

  • Colonel Alan Kellogg

Women’s performance in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 years showcased their extraordinary abilities and reinforced the belief that women are qualified to join combat arms specialties. As a result, on January 24, 2013, the Department of Defense (DoD) removed ground combat restrictions for women thereby removing some of the barriers for increased opportunities. Research suggests that integrating women into previously closed specialties can improve team performance and indicates that successful integration depends on the Army’s ability to plan and execute a comprehensive strategy for implementing change in organizations. Therefore, this paper examines the evolving role of women in the Army and acknowledges several concerns and benefits about integrating women into combat arms specialties. John Kotter’s eight step process for leading change in organizations is used to examine and offer recommendations about how the Army should implement DOD’s directive requiring women be integrated into combat specialties by 2016.