Should Women Serve In Combat? Maybe They Already DoAnna North6/23/10 10:00amFiled to: Women at warwomen in the militaryWomen on submarinesMilitaryWarIraqAfghanistanWomen in combatDirect combat unitsAppic204EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkBoth the US and UK militaries are struggling with the question of whether women should be allowed to serve in direct combat roles. But many female soldiers say they already do.According to Ed Pilkington of the Guardian, women will likely be allowed on US submarines (traditionally all-male) by next year — the Guardian's John Henley reports that the UK Navy will integrate its subs as well. But in both the US and the UK, direct combat units remain all-male. Henley writes that the UK produced a 2002 report justifying its decision to keep things that way, which stated, "This environment poses extraordinary demands on the individuals, and success or failure – and survival – depend upon the cohesion of the team in extreme circumstances for which there are no direct comparisons." That is, the Ministry of Defense wasn't sure how women would affect its direct combat units, and the stakes were too high to experiment. The Ministry doesn't think women are too soft for the mental strain of direct ground combat, but it does worry that they're not physically strong enough, claiming that only 0.1% of female applicants could meet the strength and agility demands of its four-person infantry teams.