Recently announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, the Pentagon has now opened all combat jobs in all branches of the military to women. With this change, we’ll see more female soldiers, Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Air Force parajumpers, and Marine Corps infantry, and that means the equipment needed to do those jobs will need to better meet the needs of a more diverse military.

The Right Gear For The Job
It’s clear to the U.S. military that women can do the same combat jobs as male soldiers and successfully accomplish objectives in some of the most extreme and dangerous military circumstances. To help ensure safety and superior combat capabilities, both male and female soldiers require the right gear, but since combat roles have almost always fallen to men, that type of gear has been specific to their sizes and shapes.

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Protective vests, helmets, body parajumper padding, and other equipment have been made to fit the proportions of a male body as a standard, but now that women will be joining men as machine gunners, bomb squad techs, paratroopers, and other combat roles, that equipment will have to diversify as well.

Equipment That Enables The Soldier
Gear will need to be modified to accommodate proportional differences, like height, but also shoulder, hip, and torso ratios that vary between men and women. These adjustments are imperative to ensuring that a wearer’s equipment doesn’t compromise their range of motion or ability to operate a weapon.

All branches of the military are currently in the process of redesigning the many different types of gear a solider might wear in the field. That includes outer tactical vests as well as full-body combat suits. Since Defense Secretary Carter made the announcement earlier this month, the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps will have thirty days to start the integration, which will open roughly 220,000 military jobs to women.

What are your thoughts on this development? Will more diversified military gear have an impact on your industry?

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