Four service women and the Service Women Action Network (SWAN) [advocacy website] filed an amended complaint [text, PDF] on Thursday in their lawsuit against the US Army and the Department of Defense [official websites] in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website]. The amended complaint asks the court to declare policies and practices of excluding women from combat arms positions and schools unconstitutional. The women ask that qualified servicewomen be considered on individual merit for all such positions. The women filed the original suit [complaint, PDF; JURISTreport] last year. The complaint aimed to end a policy that bars women from combat units [SWAN blog] and related posts.
In 2011 a US military panel, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, recommended [JURIST report] that women be allowed to serve on the front lines of combat. Their report said that integration of women into combat forces would have no ill effects and recommended a "time-phased" approach to the implementation of new combat policies that would create additional career options for women that include "direct ground combat." These recent suits to allow women into combat roles come on the heels of another civil rights push in military policy-last year's repeal of the controversial "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive]. Last year Australia became the fourth nation [JURIST report] which permitted women to serve in combat roles.