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CMR URGES PENTAGON TO DISCONTINUE THE DACOWITS

February 28, 2002
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CMR NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Thursday, February 28, 2002 Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, disputed claims made by Rep. Heather Wilson, (R-NM), who met with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz yesterday to promote renewal of the charter of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. (Washington Times, "Panel on Military Women in Peril," Feb. 28) Donnelly recommended that the two-year charter of the DACOWITS not be extended beyond its expiration date, which is today, February 28: "Congresswoman Wilson is out of line in threatening the Deputy Secretary of Defense with 'strenuous opposition' in the middle of a war. Military women who are serving their country well don't need the civilian women of DACOWITS to go 'outside the chain of command' to express their concerns. It is condescending to suggest that they do. "Many things have changed since 50 years ago, when DACOWITS was founded and women numbered fewer than 2% of the military. In many cases women in leadership positions are the chain of command. They are fully integrated and serving well, have earned three-star rank in all the services, and are being promoted at rates equal to or faster than men. "Most women in uniform, especially enlisted personnel, do not favor combat assignments on submarines or multiple launch field artillery, as recommended by the DACOWITS. The committee's radical agenda would not change if new appointments were made, especially if they mirror the views of Rep. Wilson. In 1993 Ms. Wilson participated in a 2-hour 'Firing Line' debate on women in combat, and she was on the team of ultra-liberal then-Representative Patricia Schroeder (D-CO). "Even if Bush Administration appointees opposed the extreme agenda promoted during the Clinton years, they would constitute only one-third of the membership, and be outvoted 2-1. This is because last year Clinton holdovers misused the autopen of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to ratify appointments made by his predecessor, William S. Cohen. With a serious war going on, Secretary Rumsfeld should not retain a discredited, insubordinate feminist committee pushing a radical agenda that has nowhere to go but over the edge." Donnelly added, "If Rep. Wilson agrees with DACOWITS that women should serve in Special Operations helicopter pilot positions, then she is at odds with combat experts who have repeatedly explained why such assignments would needlessly complicate missions and cost lives. The mostly-civilian members of DACOWITS seem to think that piloting a Special Operations helicopter is just another 'career opportunity.' They ought to consider the fate of real-life pilot Michael Durant, whose injuries in Somalia in 1993 are graphically portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down. "Adoption of the DACOWITS' high-priority recommendations would hurt the war effort by taking political correctness to extremes. If the committee's charter is allowed to lapse, a sigh of relief will be heard at military bases worldwide and on all the ships at sea." The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that specializes in military personnel issues. For more information on the DACOWITS, go to the "Issues" section of the CMR website (DA022802A)
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