Integration of Women into Maneuver, Fires, and Effects Career Fields

  • Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Lambert

The rescission of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women announced by Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey on 24 January, 2013 represents a promising change that will better align the Army with the society it serves and enhance the overall performance of combat arms units. In order to fully capitalize on this positive change, leaders at every level must challenge cultural resistance to women serving in previously all male Maneuver, Fires, and Effects (MFE) career fields at the brigade level and below. Many of these cultural impediments are contained in messages that oppose this change effort and have primarily dominated pre-execution dialogue, and thereby risk sabotaging the implementation process by marginalizing potential positive outcomes. Therefore, senior leaders must change cultural beliefs and assumptions by acknowledging the positive aspects of this change effort, while marginalizing negative sentiments. In doing so, subordinate leaders and Soldiers will be empowered to reinforce new assumptions and beliefs observed in senior leaders.