The U.S. Marine Corps is expected to announce that 19 of its military occupational specialties (MOSs) will become gender neutral as part of the ongoing effort to integrate women into military combat roles.
In most cases, the title currently features the word “man” and will instead say “Marine,” the Marine Corps Times reported. “Basic infantryman” will be changed to “basic infantry Marine,” for instance, while “anti-tank missileman” will be changed to “anti-tank missile gunner.”
Some titles will remain untouched, a Marine official told the outlet, to preserve Marine history.
“Names that were not changed, like rifleman, are steeped in Marine Corps history and ethos,” the anonymous official said. “Things that were changed needed to be updated to align with other MOS names.”
Of the 33 titles reviewed, many were not required to be changed because they are already gender-neutral with words such as “chief” or “specialist.”
Other titles, such as “manpower officer” and “vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle specialist,” will still feature the word man because the use of the word is not in reference to the Marine who holds the title.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus mandated the review of the titles in an order to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller in January.
“As we achieve full integration of the force this is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs,” he wrote. “Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from the titles.”
In December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that women will be allowed to serve in combat roles. The goal was not to fill quotas but rather to expand opportunities for qualified women, Carter said.
“As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” he said at the time. “There will be no exceptions. They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
Earlier this month, the Senate voted to require women turning 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018, to register for the military draft a decision reached at least in part due to the inclusion of women in combat roles. Neller expressed support for this decision.
“[I]t’s my personal view that based on this lifting of restrictions for assignment to unit MOS, that every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft,” Nellersaid not long after Carter’s announcement.
Political leaders also pointed to the decision to integrate women into combat roles when explaining their support for the draft decision.
“The fact is every single leader in this country, both men and women, members of the military leadership, believe that it’s fair since we opened up all aspects of the military to women that they would also be registering for Selective Service,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last month.
The House’s decision remains to be seen.