Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
STATEMENT, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 3, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Morris, 202-225-2965, Emily.Morris@mail.house.gov
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ APPLAUDS SECRETARY CARTER’S HISTORIC DECISION TO OPEN ALL COMBAT ROLES TO WOMEN
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), the second ranked Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee and the founder and chair of the Women in the Military Caucus, released the following statement after Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that all positions in the U.S. military will be open to men and women alike.
“I strongly applaud Secretary Carter’s historic decision to expand all combat roles to any qualified women who demonstrate their ability to meet the required performance standards.
“For years, women have been on the battlefield in dangerous combat and this official recognition and support for them is long overdue.
“Excluding qualified women from combat roles and the same opportunities as their male counterparts has deterred women from advancing up the chain of command and prevented our military from reaching its full effectiveness. Opening up all roles to women will ultimately strengthen the military and our nation.
“It is absolutely necessary for the Department of Defense and Congress to work towards a timely and thoughtful implementation to integrate women into all roles in the military.
“Throughout the full integration process, we must ensure that this policy change is fully supported up and down the chain of command.”
Secretary Carter’s decision is based on considering recommendations from the Service Secretaries, Service Chiefs, the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and rigorous analysis of factual data gathered over the last three years of study.
As the highest ranking woman on the House Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Sanchez has tirelessly fought to make military service a stronger working environment and career option for female service members who serve our nation with bravery and honor.
The military services have been ordered to lift the ground combat exclusion policy by next year, a move that the Congresswoman has been intimately involved in:
- In 2014, Congresswoman Sanchez introduced H.R. 4516, the She is Ready Act.
- In 2012, the Congresswoman introduced H.R. 5792, the Gender Equality Combat Act.
- In 2011, she introduced H.R. 1928, the Women’s Fair and Equal Right to Military Service Act.
- A number of provisions from these acts have been included in annual National Defense Authorization Acts.
- In 2009, Congresswoman Sanchez also introduced H.Res. 904, a resolution honoring women who served or are currently serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as members of the Armed Forces and recognizing their increasing and invaluable role to the success of military operations.
These ground-breaking pieces of legislation would allow qualified female soldiers in our military to fight in combat.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is proud to represent California’s 46th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, and parts of the cities of Garden Grove and Orange in Orange County. She serves as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and as the second ranked Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security.