Less than 8 percent of Army women surveyed said they were interested in a combat job, the Associated Press reports.
Respondents of both genders also said they were nervous about women assuming combat roles but were determined to integrate females fairly and prevent the lowering of standards.
Less than 8 percent of Army women who responded to the survey said they wanted a combat job. Of those, an overwhelming number said they'd like to be a Night Stalker—a member of the elite special operations helicopter crews who perhaps are best known for flying the Navy SEALS into Osama bin Laden's compound in 2011.
Last year top Pentagon officials signed an order saying women must have the same opportunities as men in combat jobs and the services have been devising updated physical standards, training, education and other programs for thousands of jobs they must open Jan. 1, 2016. The services must open as many jobs to women as possible; if they decide to keep some closed, they must explain why.
Most of the females who said they were interested in combat jobs were younger and in the lower ranks, while officers expressed concerns about sexual harassment and improper relationships. A staff member at the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command told the AP that though the military is attempting to aggressively lower reports of sexual assault, the increased attention has “created a little environment of fear” that might “hinder integration.”
Military readiness experts have previously said that integrating women into combat could increase injuries and sexual assault rates and lead to “gender-norming” of infantry combat training.