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Kaine Addresses Women In Combat Symposium

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a symposium on Women in Combat Units: The Experiences of Partner Nations on Capitol Hill today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine reiterated his strong support for the decision to lift the ban on women in combat. Kaine, along with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, sponsored the symposium, which included firsthand accounts from women who recently returned from serving in combat.

“It is a fundamental civil rights issue that men and women are equal and they should be treated equally,” said Kaine, before noting how proud he is to see “we are moving in a significant way to open up these combat MOS’s.”

Kaine cautioned that military leadership, as well as he and his colleagues on the Armed Services Committee, must ensure a fair and equal process of setting standards for obtaining a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), and that standards do not become barriers.

“As we define the tasks that are necessary to meet the MOS in combat, we just have to make sure we’re defining the best way to do the job, not just how the job’s always been done,” said Kaine. “This is a positive thing. The leadership I interact with are embracing it as a sense of mission, not because they feel that they have to. We’re making progress.”

Kaine underscored the need for a continued dialogue on the expanding role of women in international security and praised the symposium’s work to convene a diverse group of partner nations – such as Denmark, Sweden, Canada and Norway – to discuss best practices of combat integration.