From remarks March 21 by Sen. William Proxmire on the "Myth of the Day: Women Should Be Barred From Combat":

Barring women from combat has resulted in complex and arbitrary restrictions that limit our military flexibility.

At the present time, each branch of the military has elaborate determinations for which specific assignments have high combat probability. These designations often change depending on the world situation, so that in the Navy, for example, all assignments of women to ships in the 6th and 7th fleets must be approved by the fleet commander. The fleet commander must review each case and use available intelligence resources to determine the likelihood of combat. Such time-consuming judgment calls may be manageable during peacetime, but they would be impossible in the crush of a war situation.

This became abundantly clear during the invasion of Grenada. A group of female military police deploying from Fort Bragg was sent back to the barracks three times before being allowed to deploy. Once in Grenada, they were recalled, and then, three days later, they were once again sent back to Grenada. That kind of confusion would only be magnified in a larger maneuver.

Women soldiers make up roughly 10 percent of our Armed Forces and are well integrated throughout. To keep tabs on all of them and try to restrict them from forward battle positions would not only be difficult, it would limit our flexibility and deprive the front line of skilled female specialists. . . .

The fact is that we cannot afford to encumber our military commanders with combat restrictions that affect a large fraction of their troops. We must open up our combat billets to all qualified soldiers in order to maximize our flexibility.