HOUSTON (FOX 26) - On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced all U.S. military combat positions are being opened up to women. This overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.
"What I worry about is that they're lowering standards to allow females to these jobs," said Aprille Santos, an active Black Hawk Pilot in the United States Army. "I think that standards need to remain the same."
Santos has been active in the army for fourteen years and she knows firsthand what it is like to fight alongside men in combat. She said what she personally has to offer her combat groups, is unique.
"When I went to combat, you know, I went as a single parent and left my son back here. What I had to offer is I was a mother to the soldiers, and I would think of things we would need more than my male counterparts would think more like comforts."
But a concern the Marine Corps has previously expressed is that all-male squads are more effective in combat than integrated groups. A recent study released by the Marine Corps shows all male squads were faster than gender integrated squads, and all male integrated squads had better accuracy to gender integrated squads.
"I think that if women want to be a part of the combat force they should be the same standards, bottom line," said Hanan Yadin, a former Israeli Defense Forces member.
Yadin said Israel has had women active in their combat groups for years and thinks although the same requirements should be met as men, women are fully capable of succeeding.
"In the past two decades they participate in many of the instructor roles in Israel, sniper instructors, tank crew instructors, combat fitness instructors, and there are also some F16 pilots," he said
According to Carter, the decision allows women to fill about 220,000 jobs that are now limited to men. Yadin said he not only sees a number advantage by allowing women to take part in combat positions, he sees a conceptual advantage as well.
"In Israel they have certain roles in combat that they let only female soldiers participate and take those positions because they have the mother instinct, the protective instinct. I don't see any negative effects, I see only advantages."
According to defense secretary carter, the policy move will take effect after 30 days.