The aim of the review was to assess the current exclusion of women from ground close combat roles, to identify the benefits and risks of changing this policy and to make recommendations. The review was to be open and evidence based, building on the considerable work undertaken in support of the 2002 and 2010 studies. The assessment of benefits was to include the impact of a change in policy on the recruitment of women into the wider armed forces.
It was to cover all three services, with the Army acting as the lead service working in close cooperation with the Navy, the Air Force and the Chief of Defence Personnel. The review was based on the premise that all roles should be open to women unless this would undermine combat effectiveness. The Defence Secretary directed that armed forces’ effectiveness was not to be prejudiced by lowering operationally necessary standards.
The 2014 review built on the evidence of previous studies and include any new information, whilst specifically focusing on benefits and risks of a policy change. Nine workstrands were identified, ownership apportioned, and other service contributions obtained where appropriate. The review considered whether it was appropriate to remove the current exclusions; initiatives to create new capabilities or organisations that seek to use female talent better were out of scope.
This paper has been considered by equality analysis trained personnel to ensure that the outcome does not have a disproportionate impact on those in the protected characteristics groups. The employment branches of all three services have been consulted in the preparation of this paper.