chapter  1
28 Pages

Either You Need These Women or You Do Not: Informing the Debate on Military Service and Citizenship

WithLorry M. Fenner

In 1946, Margaret Chase Smith, impatient with the House Military Affairs Committee, basically told them to “put up or shut up.” More recently the Army’s top enlisted man was on trial for sexual harassment and assault; Congress is studying integrated military training; the Armed Services are reviewing two other recent reports on integrated training; the first women to command surface combat ships are preparing for their assignments to the fleet; and well known columnists write in opposition to women’s integration and blame them for many military ills including lack of readiness and aircraft crashes. During World War II the initial induction of women was challenged over whether the military really needed more people, whether they should be an official part of the services, and whether they could do military jobs. The 1991 Tailhook and 1996 Aberdeen incidents point to some troubling attitudes and behaviors prevalent historically and now among some male service members.