SWAN Lawsuit Challenges Barriers to Women in Combat

October 5, 2018

October 4, 2018: The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) recently reported the following in their latest newsletter:

Last week SWAN won in U.S. Federal Court as the Defense Department sought to dismiss our case challenging the DoD's method and commitment to full integration of women into all jobs in the military.  The Defense Department basically wanted the federal judge to trust that they were working to successfully integrate women into combat arms jobs and defer to their decision makers.  It is a little difficult to trust the Defense Department when it continues to carry out policies that keep women from certain assignments, and when Defense Secretary James Mattis continues to cast doubts on women's  ability in combat arms, even right before our court appearance, saying:

"I’ve got this being looked at right now by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Commandant of the Marine Corps ... this is a policy that I inherited...Clearly the jury is out on it."
–Defense Secretary James Mattis, in remarks at VMI, Sept. 25, 2018

SWAN immediately pushed back against Mattis' remarks, which only serve to demoralize the hard working women currently in combat arms. The Army has 51 female infantry officers, 4 noncomissioned officers, and 243 enlisted infantry women.  In armor, there are 82 female scout and armored officers, 10 noncomissioned officers and 194 enlisted women.  Last Friday, the 18th female Ranger School graduate pinned on her tab.  These Soldiers have achieved this success meeting the exact same standards as their male counterparts.  But "the jury is out on it"?

SWAN stands with the women in combat arms; we will be their voice needed to continue this fight. Help us push back against the military's resistance to fully integrate women into the ranks.  Our lawsuit, originally filed in 2012 to challenge women's exclusion from ground combat jobs, is in its sixth year. SWAN is determined to remain steadfast in challenging remaining barriers to women's service in the military, but we can't do it without you. Our next step in the lawsuit is to move to a stage known as "discovery" where we can request and review documents that DoD claims support their policies that discriminate against women and continue to limit women's opportunities and success in the military.

Learn more about SWAN at

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