Women in Combat Compendium

Michele M. Putko Colonel
Douglas V. Johnson Dr.


These facts involving women in combat are: Women comprise approximately 15 percent of the U.S. Army today, and as of September 2007, 70 Army women have been killed and a significantly larger number wounded; the American public is vaguely aware of this state of affairs and has raised no outcry. The nature of the current battlefield makes it impossible to apply the existing rules for excluding women from combat without serious reduction in combat capabilities, degrading the professional development and thus status of women, and producing a potentially serious reduction in overall readiness. Two major conclusions are reached: (1) the nature of combat for the U.S. Army has changed, and the existing rules governing the employment of women do not fit this new situation; and (2) there is not the slightest doubt that women can perform their assigned duties in the combat zone, including engaging in combat actions essential to their personal and unit’s self-defense, with skill and valor equal to their male comrades.