Mitchell Reports | January 24, 2013
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>> we're waiting the announcement by secretary panetta about women in combat . nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel joins us now. you've seen it up close. you've seen men and women, women embedded with the troops. what difference do you think this will make? it makes a big difference in terms of career advancement? what about unit cohesion and all the other obstacles that critics are suggest sng.
>> >> in some cases this is already happening. i remember a time in kandahar i was with a small unit of military police . there was a female lieutenant leading the group, and she was in the city of kandahar, which is a dangerous place. if are you walking around in kevlar carrying a rifle, walking through the streets of a dangerous city, are you in dom bat, especially in the kind of combat you have today when there aren't frontlines, and there are urban environments. she lived with other american soldiers . she lived in this same very dirty room that smelled of feet almost all the time. they got along very well. i can imagine if you multiply that throughout what they call theater of battle and you have women in these tiny frontline outposts across the country that it would be a major adjustment. they will be logistical things that they'll have to adjust to. not just latrines, but they'll have to have more sensitivity training because these outposts are very macho, very aggress he have kinds of places. it will be a big adjustments.
>> but it's an adjustment that the women all welcome. there is a lot of support for this on capitol hill from both republicans and democrats because they all have constituents, and they all see that these women are blocked. they're barred from promotions, and they're suffering all of the trevail of combat or being in a war zone without having the benefits.
>> and without having certain, as you say, career advancement. there is some pay implications as well. what i just wanted to see is how this plays out. how -- so technically, yes, they can be in combat. will the commander have discretion as to where to send women? will he not send them or she not send them to certain very dangerous outposts that are just thinking some of these places deep in the mountains of afghanistan where maybe you only have 15 or 20 soldiers manning a political place, and they're living there months at a time and there's very little supervision. there's very little food. it's very cold. will a commander now feel obligated or be obligated to make that a co-ed post, or will that be his decision? so is this a lifting of the bureaucratic principle that allows for more pay, equal opportunities, or will the commanders still have some discretion as to which posts he thinks should be just men traditional combat troops or will they all have to be co-ed. i'm cure where yous to see how this is implemented.
>> thus just the beginning. the first step. it will be -- if he is confirmed -- chuck hagel will have to carry out this policy that leon panetta is announcing shortly along side the chairman of the joint chiefs martin