On May 23, 2012, two women officers in the U.S. Army Reserve, sued the Department of Defense and the Army in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that their ...
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On May 23, 2012, two women officers in the U.S. Army Reserve, sued the Department of Defense and the Army in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that their Fifth Amendment rights had been violated by the Department of Defense. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed the policy of excluding women from 'direct combat' operations violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the plaintiffs' equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment.
As part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, the Department of Defense (DoD) was required to submit a report reviewing its combat exclusion policies for women. The DoD had, since 1994, a specific policy of excluding women from being part of units, from the battalion-level down, that engaged in direct combat. The Army had a similar policy.
On February 9, 2012, the DoD submitted the report to Congress, detailing how the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force would be given the power to place women into 'direct combat' units, and that the results of this practice would inform future policymaking. The plaintiffs claimed that the DoD policy still permits the exclusion of women from any position where 'job related physical requirements would necessarily exclude the vast majority of women Service members.'
Plaintiffs claim that (1) the policy violates their equal protection rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; (2) that Army officers are already circumventing the DoD policy by 'attaching' women to combat brigades, calling them "Cultural Support Teams."; and (3) that the policy of excluding women is futile. The complaint points out that warfare has become non-linear, and that women who are not given weapons and combat training are ill-suited and endangered when the units to which they are assigned come under attack.
On November 4, 2013, the parties submitted a notice of voluntary dismissal. The next day, the Court approved the notice and the case was dismissed without prejudice.Blase Kearney - 05/29/2012
Katherine Reineck - 02/07/2016