The Army believes it will have female soldiers in all of its infantry and armor brigade combat teams by the end of 2020.
That expectation is being shared as officials lift a service-wide policy that required female leaders in combat units before those units could accept female junior enlisted soldiers into their ranks.
“We’ve had women in the infantry and armor occupations now for three years,” said Maj. Melissa Comiskey, the chief of command policy for Army G-1.
Integrating women into those units has “changed the culture,” she added.
“It’s not as different as it was three years ago when the Army first implemented the integration plan,” Comiskey said.
Under new guidelines, Guard armor and infantry battalions can forego the leaders first policy as long as they have “successfully integrated junior enlisted women into at least one of their companies for 12-15 months.”
Currently, about 2% of all armor and infantry soldiers are female, with 568 in armor units and another 601 in infantry units.
Officials said one reason for a slower pace of integration has been the relatively low number of female soldiers and leaders choosing infantry and armor career fields. But that is expected to change as more female soldiers move up the ranks and assume company commander positions.
“It takes a little bit longer to grow the leaders,” Comiskey said.
Army officials said the number of women in armor and infantry units has increased every year since integration began.