Military women:

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We’re AND — a positive voice for American military women.


Military women have earned our nation’s gratitude and our support.


Women have served in all American conflicts. It’s been 60 years since women became official, permanent members our military services. 


Today, women are a vital, irreplaceable part of our all-volunteer forces.  They have served — often in harm’s way — with distinction alongside their brothers and, unfortunately, all-too-many including those represented in our Gallery of Heroines have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.



Who We Are


A non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization comprised of veterans from all service branches and concerned civilians, AND collects the facts and figures – factual, thoughtful, objective information – on US military women and provides them to scholars, the media, national decision makers and the public.


Where we stand


We believe:

A full partnership between women and men strengthens America's military.

Military readiness and mission accomplishment are of critical importance.

Excellence in performance is required from all who serve in the armed forces, regardless of gender.

What We Do


AND covers the backs of military women, encouraging and promoting the vital role of military women in our nation's defense.


AND brings organizations and individuals together to continually monitor the accomplishments of American military women and the level of support they receive from their services. And we spread the word so everyone can better understand their sacrifices and the often unique challenges military women face in their services and in their lives.


We hope you will find this site a valuable resource on the status of and issues effecting military women.


We hope you will learn, join in discussions and make this site your  personal resource.


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AND is a member-supported organization and we invite you to join with us in supporting American Military women with your time and money.

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The Ninth Edition of Women in the Military — Where They Stand is now available in both print and electronic formats.

The publication, pioneered by The Women's Research and Education Institute (WREI), was prepared in 2014 by the Alliance for National Defense with the assistance of long-time editor, Capt. Lory Manning, USN (Ret.).

It includes information on active duty, reserve and Guard forces and on women veterans as well as updated statistics and a chronology of important policy and legislative milestones including a detailed listing of developments in the area of sexual assault and harassment.

Publication of the Ninth Edition was delayed by unprecedented foot-dragging by the Department of Defense in honoring or indeed acknowledging Freedom of Information Act requests for relevant data.

The September 30, 2012 figures included in this edition were requested in Fall 2012; the request was fulfilled nearly two years later in August 2014.

AND is hard at work to break this logjam; the publication will be updated with new data as soon as such information becomes available.

This Ninth Edition is made possible through most generous financial support from Robert M. Kaufman and the Jane and Seymour Kelley Fund of the New York Community Trust.

This support makes it possible to offer the electronic version of Women in the Military free of charge to all interested parties and printed copies by mail for the cost of postage.

To order a print edition, please visit the page  

To download the electronic edition, please visit this page










Women in the Military—Where They Stand

Now Available in Print, Electronic Format

Enough already with spurious allusions to ‘unit cohesion’  in support of sex offenders and to oppose force integration!

Few knowledgeable in the art of war dispute that ‘unit cohesion’ is an essential element in successful accomplishment of military missions. But one doesn’t have to be a conspiracy buff to wonder if this tried and true precept has been hijacked by those whose avowed goal is to keep women out of all-male preserves and to justify unjustifiable acts of sexual assault and harassment.

It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Indeed, ‘unit cohesion’ —  then pushing the now thoroughly discredited proposition that ‘folks won’t fight if they share a fox hole with persons of color’ —  was a common canard supporting racial segregation in the services.

Yet today, a new, but equally corrupted version of ’unit cohesion’ is being dragged out:

Full integration of women into combat forces?  Oh, no!  That would adversely affect the unit cohesion of elite units presumably leaving our troops easy prey for units where gender apartheid is strictly enforced. (See Page 5 for more debate on this issue.)

It is in the area of sexual assault prevention that ‘unit cohesion’ is being misappropriated in a particularly unsavory manner.

Eliminate the ‘good soldier defense?’ Nope, bad for unit cohesion. Take away commanding officers’ powers to decide on prosecution of alleged rapists or to throw out convictions of convicted sex offenders?  Heavens, no! That would destroy unit cohesion! Censure a special victims counsel for asking a senator to provide more effective tools to get her job done.  Sure, such talk is bad for unit cohesion.

One can only hope that those who evoke this argument don’t really think that rape and gender segregation are essential elements of unit cohesion. But, sadly, it’s difficult to be certain.

AND Editorial

Unit Cohesion:  Just Another Way of

Saying ‘No Women Need Apply’?

AND Positive Voice Award winner and former DACOWITS member Robert M. Kaufman has been elected to the Alliance’s board of directors.

He is a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP of New York and an expert in legal issues surrounding non-profit organizations. Previously he was legislative assistant to Senator Jacob Javits; attorney, an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, and an economist at the New York State Division of Housing.

He has served on the Board of Visitors at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and for many years on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).

Mr. Kaufman is Vice Chair of New York Community Trust and Director, September 11th Fund.

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Robert M. Kaufman Joins AND’s Board

Summer 2015 Advocate Now Online

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Most everyone knows the drill by now:  In January 2013, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta  announced the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members. SECDEF directed the military services to evaluate all occupational performance standards to ensure such standards are up to date and gender-neutral. Gender neutrality was mandatory unless an exception was applied for and granted by the secretary.

As many pointed out at the time, the devil is in the details. In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better if DoD’s edict had been less nuanced, stating, for example, “Women will now serve in combat roles…deal with it.” But not in the ‘real world.’

Today as the deadline for services and commands to open all positions to women or apply for exemptions nears, ‘standards’ for combat units have become the subject of intense — and sometimes uninformed —debate.

It would be difficult to find serious observers who believe archetypical ‘out of shape 90-pound-weakings’ — male or female — should be incorporated into elite units and thrust into combat situations.

That said, in some — dare we say ‘reactionary’ — circles and commands ‘standards’ have devolved into a code word for excluding all women regardless of their fitness or qualifications.

But here’s the problem:  There are a plethora of standards out there.  Some are relevant.  Some are, well, simply fatuous.

Or as physical fitness expert Jim Gourley concludes “...physical standards for combat duty... have nothing to do with combat..

Bragging that “My boys can do more pull-ups than your boys (use of gender-specific noun deliberate)” makes for great fun at the officer’s club, but is far less relevant when it comes to accomplishing missions and successfully bringing your people home.

The ability to ’fireman carry’ a person whose weight equals yours may or may not be useful to firefighters, but combat veterans say transporting a wounded comrade on your shoulder in a firefight is only good for turning one casualty into two.

And who can seriously assert that setting standards that would disqualify Audie Murphy, one of America’s most decorated combat soldiers, makes for a more effective fighting force.

Someone really needs to set standards for standards.

We’d suggest DoD undertake this project, but that would require a score of committees, a host of study groups and three years to digest data before reaching a conclusion.

Maybe a memo saying “Women will now serve in combat roles…deal with it.” is the right solution after all!

AND Editorial:

It’s Time to Set Standards for Combat Standards

Women In Combat — Where They Stand:

Conference Helps Redefine National

Debate On Force Integration

AND joined forces with Women in International Security, the Reserve Officer’s Association and No Exceptions to host a conference to examine and critique DOD implementation of the ground combat ban rescission April 27 in Washington, D.C.

The conference was made possible by a grant from the Robert M Kaufman Fund in the New York Community Trust.

Women in Combat — Where They Stand was broadcast live on CSPAN and covered by national media. The standing-room-only conference’s panels included DoD officials, legislator, academics, female combat veterans and advocates.


Video links and complete coverage of the conference


AND Editorial:

The (Naysayer) Emperor Has No Clothes

When the wheat is separated from the chaff, arguments against the no-exceptions, full integration of the U.S. armed forces fall into three broad categories.

· Women Adversely Effect Unit Cohesion

· Standards Must Be Lowered for Women

· Women Are Too Fragile for War/If One Can’t Hack It, None Can Hack It

Yet even a cursory review of the scientific evidence presented by expert panelists or the anecdotal evidence offered by real world combat veterans at the Women in Combat — Where They Stand Conference  shows the naysayers ‘have no clothes.’


Scientific evidence indicates long term, task-oriented unit cohesion is generally improved by inclusion of women in close-knit units; female veterans report that the ’stare factor’ evaporates after a few days or when the first shot is fired, whichever comes first.  On unit cohesion, the naysayer emperor has no clothes.


Current standards were not handed down from deities on stone tablets; many are subjective (Does Lt. Smith look like a platoon leader?) while others bear little relation to real world duties.  Prime example: Experts have concluded,  that physical standards for combat duty have nothing to do with combat.”  On standards, the naysayer emperor has no clothes.


Any reporter worth his or her byline can find a grumpy, superannuated colonel or crusty battle-hardened NCO who is certain — likely without ever having served in harm’s way with or under a woman — that women are too fragile for war, that no woman can do what he has done in combat.  That’s theory.  But wait a minute:  Women have served under fire for centuries and — the ’Alice in Wonderland’ combat exclusion notwithstanding — in combat situations for decades.  Those who have served with women almost unanimously say most can withstand the mental and physical rigors of war. All women? No, but neither can all men.   Once again, the naysayer Emperor has no clothes.




Washington POST: Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday that he is opening all jobs in combat units to women, a landmark decision that ends a three-year period of research with a number of firsts for female service members and bitter debate at times about how women should be integrated.

The decision opens the military’s most elite units to women who can meet the rigorous requirements for the positions for the first time, including in the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. It also opens the Marine Corps infantry, a battle-hardened force that many service officials had openly advocated keeping closed to female service members.

“There will be no exceptions,” Carter said. “This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”

Read the entire initial story here


AND Flash Editorial

The Alliance for National Defense is overjoyed at this overdue recognition of the contributions women have made to our nation’s defense in the past and anticipates that great things will come out of total integration of our fighting forces.

And we are proud of the role AND played, working with many outstanding advocates and organizations to make this happen. 

Victory, indeed has a thousand ‘parents;’ that said, AND is especially proud to have been a co-organizer of the Women in Combat: Where They Stand Conference. with Women in International Security, the Reserve Officer’s Association and No Exceptions   This gathering, we believe,  played a pivotal role in refuting objections to a No Exceptions outcome and widely disseminating the real world experiences of women who served their country in combat despite the Catch 22 rules.

No Exceptions Means No Exceptions

It is said that nothing is ever over in Washington.  While we hope this policy is accepted with a snappy salute and wholehearted support throughout the military, AND is ready to join allied advocates and groups to make certain No exceptions means No exceptions.

With your continued support, we can and will make this happen!

Yes, We’ll Have No Exceptions!

DoD Announces Opening of

All Combat Jobs to Women

This is truly an amazing moment in the history of women serving in the military. In one bold statement ending restrictions in all services which precluded the fullest possible integration of military women across the full spectrum of military specialties, Secretary Carter has tremendously advanced military readiness in all branches of the armed forces. Before his transforming decision to open all jobs in the military to men and women who fully met the qualifications, decades of effort on the part of thousands of women  serving, supported by men who appreciated all that women brought to the team, pushed the boundaries forward. The main issue was never women's rights or gender equity; it was force readiness and those actions which would insure that those best qualified to serve in a vast array of demanding positions would be given the opportunity to compete on a more even playing field.

That great day has come. It is a rich moment in my life, making all the effort involved in achieving this goal over a 30-year career and 25 years of striving to advance the flag of reasonableness and equity in retirement so very meaningful...

AND President Emerta

Brig. Gen. Evelyn ‘Pat’ Foote (USA, Ret)


No Exceptions