On January 24, 2013, restrictions against women in ground combat units, to include U.S. Army Special Forces (SF), were rescinded by the Department of Defense. The military services were allowed to gradually and systematically integrate women into male-only military occupational specialties (MOS). By January 2016 the military services must open all combat jobs to women or explain why exceptions exi...
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Publisher: Independently published (May 11, 2018)
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integration for Army SF Operational Detachments Alpha (ODAs) could present socio-dynamic hurdles that potentially erode operational readiness, combat effectiveness and group cohesion. This research explores implications to operational readiness, combat effectiveness and group cohesion gender integration may pose to Army SF ODAs. Historical accounts of women in the Office of Strategic Services are considered, and gender integration of combat jobs and special operations forces of foreign militaries are discussed. Surveys were conducted among a convenience sampling of U.S. Army SF officers and U.S. Army female officers. Findings and recommendations conclude gender integration of an SF ODA can be successful if leadership at all levels leads the way with clear communication to manage expectations, and current physical standards remain unaltered. Clear lines of communication and education of ODA spouses are also vital to the success of gender integration in ODAs. Integrating women into ground combat units and previously denied MOSs is a sensitive subject, and more so when you consider integrating women into the Special Forces community as an 18-Series MOS member on an ODA. A strong understanding of the socio-dynamics within the integrated group is required. This study explores some pitfalls and benefits of gender integration and plausible foundational frameworks in which USSOCOM/USASOC could begin to build successful full integration models. The literature review will consider historical perspectives of women in the OSS, particularly where women were integrated into roles that were previously held by an all-male force. It will include any previous research that could be considered parallel to this study. Also, previous research on the psychological sex differences between men and women when they are integrated together into small working groups will be considered. Chapter 3 will explain and discuss the methodology incorporated into the research. A qualitative descriptive survey methodology will be utilized. Surveys will be administered to a designated sample of human subjects. A quantitative analysis will be conducted where applicable, but a large portion of the data received from the surveys will be qualitative in nature. Chapter 4 will be a discussion of the survey results. The final chapter will include an analysis of the survey results, findings and recommendations, and recommendations for further research.