Defense Authorization Bill Urges Better Documentation of Lioness Participation

On June 22nd, the House Armed Services Committee completed its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 2647). This very large bill includes a section on women who have participated as "Lionesses" during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan:

The committee is concerned that there is no mechanism in place within the services to properly document service member participation in operational missions outside of the requirements of their military occupation.

Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the services, to review the way the services manages and documents the additional services some service members perform. The review should also consider a way to properly document participation in such actions, particularly since they are being pulled from their regular units for these missions. The review should consider whether a service or skill identifier to identify these individuals, who have previously served and may be called upon again to serve in future deployments, is appropriate. The review should also consider whether the current chain of command construct allows these individuals sufficient oversight to be able to seek proper recognition for their service. The review should also take into consideration the differences that may need to be addressed between those within the active component and those within the Reserve Component who are activated and subsequently demobilized.

In addition, the committee believes that there should be a systematic training program for these individuals prior to their deployment that takes into account the unique mission for which they have volunteered. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit the results of the review, and any recommendations, to the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services by March 31, 2010.

To read more, see pp: 315-316 of the bill:

The full House will likely approve the bill later this week. Meanwhile the Senate Armed Services Committee is currently marking up its version of the 2010 defense authorization bill. Advocates for women veterans are hoping to see a similar provision included in the Senate version.

Each year I manage to see a couple [of films] that I can’t get out of my head. This year one of the films was Lioness.

- Melissa Silverstein, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD

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