News Extras

February 9, 2012

Business, Education, Government

New Policies Reflect Realities of Modern Warfare, Officials Say

By Karen Parrish
SOURCEAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTONDefense Department policy changes reflect both women’s increased roles in and out of combat and the fact that war is no longer linear, senior officials said.  The department notified Congress it will abolish the restriction on assigning women to locations where ground combat troops operate, and selectively lift the policy barring women from assignments to ground combat units below the brigade level.

Those changes will result in more than 14,000 new jobs or assignment opportunities for military womenDefense Secretary Leon E. Panetta “is making these changes because he recognizes that over the last decade of war, women have contributed in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission,” George Little, Pentagon press secretary, told reporters during a briefing.

Women service members have put their lives on the line and demonstrated courage, patriotism and skill in defending the nation, Little said.  “But even as we make this announcement, I would like to stress that Secretary Panetta knows this is the beginning, not the end, of a process,” he added.  The services will continue to review positions and requirements to determine what additional positions may be opened to women, the press secretary added.  “Our goal is to ensure that the mission is met with the best qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender,” he said.

Little noted while preparing the report took longer than expected, Panetta and the service leaders “wanted this done right, not done quickly.”  The delay allowed the reviewers to gather additional views on the issues, and resulted in more positions open to women than would have been the case with an earlier report, he added.

The report follows a department wide review of policies affecting women’s job assignments in the military.  Two people who led the review — Virginia “Vee” Penrod, deputy assistant secretary for military personnel policy, and Army Maj. Gen. Gary Patton, principal director for military personnel policy — discussed the new policies.

“Opening these positions implements lessons from over a decade at war, where women were proven exceptionally capable and indispensable to mission accomplishment,” Penrod said.  She said the review offered an opportunity to examine all gender-restrictive laws, policies and regulations “with all services’ senior leaders at the table.”

The review panel worked to identify “changes … needed to ensure female members have an equitable opportunity to compete and excel in the U.S. armed forces,” she said.

The report, Penrod said, “reflects the secretary of defense’s vision of removing barriers that prevent service members from rising to the highest level of potential and responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant.”

The policy limiting women’s military assignments dates to 1994 and lists four factors that ban women from assignments or jobs: prohibitive costs for berthing and privacy; the requirement to locate and remain with direct ground combat units; units engaged in long range reconnaissance and special operations forces missions; and job-related physical requirements that “exclude the vast majority of women service members.”

Department leaders agreed the provision against locating with combat units no longer applies, Penrod noted.  Before 2001, war typically involved front-lines combat and protected “rear” areas where support functions like maintenance and medical care took place, she said.  “The battle space we have experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan is quite different,” Penrod added.

Highly mobile enemies now travel among the civilian population, while counterinsurgency and stability missions to combat such enemies require U.S. forces to disperse across the country in large and small bases, she said.  “There is no rear area that exists in this battle space. Forces of all types and missions are required to be in close proximity and flow between locations,” she said.  Penrod said lifting the location-based prohibition opens 13,139 new Army jobs to women, because the Army is the only service that identified positions that had been closed solely because of where they took place.

The change will expand career opportunities for women and give combatant commanders more options in deploying forces, she said.   The report noted Army officer career fields with the greatest number of restricted positions include logistics, signal, intelligence and special operations. Enlisted occupations with the largest number of restrictions include radio operator, signal support systems specialist, radar repairer, electronic warfare specialist and construction equipment repairer.

The second change is not a new policy but may lead to one, Penrod said. DOD has granted the Army, Navy and Marines a policy exception to selectively assign women to battalion-level combat units.  The services will gain experience through those assignments that will help department leaders assess the current prohibition’s relevance and “inform potential future policy changes,” Penrod said.

The report also takes aim at the provision excluding women from jobs because of physical requirements, she noted.  The services are working to develop gender-neutral physical standards based on the tasks troops perform on the job, Penrod said.  “This is an area of emphasis for us as we move forward beyond the initial steps reported as part of this review,” she added.

According to the report, DOD will evaluate gender-restricted, physically demanding jobs once gender-neutral physical standards are developed.  Penrod said when she began her 35 years in the Air Force, women were 2 percent of the force, and were restricted from some assignments based on the temperature Minot, South Dakota, was “too cold.”

Over the past 10 years, she said, women have had the opportunity to prove themselves in new ways while training and equipment have improved. Service leaders are now actively seeking ways to expand opportunities for women, she added.  “This is very exciting to me … [that] commanders were coming to us and saying ‘we need to change these policies,'” she said.

Patton said based on his career as an infantry officer and through the lens of 45 months of combat over the past several years, the changes announced today are the right thing to do.  “The way I look at it, as a former infantry battalion commander, I wish I’d had the opportunity to bring women into my battalion,” he said. “It expands the talent pool.”

Patton said the opportunities are a first step toward the question of combat arms and special operations jobs ultimately opening to women.  As Panetta told the service chiefs, he said, “This is the beginning, not the end.”  Policy changes will take effect later this spring after 30 days of continuous session of Congress, as the law requires, Penrod said.


Glass manufacturer Beatson Clark has supplied a flexible and environmentally friendly solution for one of the country’s oldest soft drinks makers.

SOURCE:  Cision

Purity Soft Drinks was established in 1892 and its Mason’s range of traditional carbonated drinks still comes in glass bottles delivered to the door.  Beatson Clark has produced a bespoke returnable bottle for the range, which includes lemonade, dandelion and burdock and cream soda, amongst other traditional flavors.

The Purity name is beautifully embossed onto the standard bottle design through bespoke finish moulds – a solution which combines flexibility with value for money and which is ideal for small volumes.  Purity turned to Beatson Clark for a new bottle when customer feedback showed a marked preference for traditional carbonates in glass bottles rather than the now more common plastic (PET).

“We were pleased to work with Purity Soft Drinks on this new bottle for their popular Mason’s range,” said Beatson Clark Marketing Manager Charlotte Taylor.  “The green credentials of glass as a packaging material are well known and Purity’s customers say the drinks taste better when supplied in a glass bottle. Our production flexibility also proved to be a great fit with Purity Soft Drinks, so we were happy to help!”

Purity Soft Drinks was established in 1892, supplying soft drinks by horse-drawn dray to the licensed trade in the West Midlands. It was bought by Douglas Cox, a young RAF fighter pilot, after World War II and grew dramatically to become a leading manufacturer within the soft drinks industry.

Purity is now the largest independent UK drinks manufacturer continuing to supply these drinks in glass for sale door to door – it mostly supplies to independent wholesalers who either distribute door to door or to small retail outlets and smaller breweries for the on-trade.

Mason’s carbonates come in refillable one-litre glass bottles that have ‘Please return this bottle’ embossed under the logo. The returnable bottles can handle between 10 and 20 trips and a deposit is returned of around 25p on each bottle.  “At Purity Soft Drinks we have built our traditional carbonate business on a combination of great quality products and excellent value for the consumer,” said Sales Director Richard Perkins.

“Our returnable glass business has continued to grow despite the availability of inferior products in PET being promoted and heavily discounted by supermarkets. It is clear that consumers buy into the quality proposition that the Masons brand delivers.  “Masons carbonates represent the traditional taste of quality soft drinks, and the glass packaging keeps the fizz in the drinks for longer.  “In short, we provide great quality, excellent value for money, a convenient delivered service and the added benefit that our packaging is reusable.”


— With three renowned children’s books, one author aims to change the way children view themselves —

SOURCE:  Black News.Com

Nationwide — Ideas of beauty are directly affected by cultural factors that typically influence the way young children and adults view themselves. Through the reinforcement of dominant beauty standards, people of color have been taught to dislike certain aspects of who they are both internally and externally.  Over time adults have become more aware of unrealistic ideals of beauty and begin to change their perspectives, while children are left adhering to dated views of what is considered attractive.

Bookcover - "Grandma Says Our Hair Has Flair"

Children as young as three show preferences for dolls that uphold eurocentric ideals of beauty ranging from the shade of their skin to the texture of their hair.  During and after playtime, children are often left with negative opinions of their appearance and a sense of internalized racism. Because of this, it has become increasingly important to teach young children that beauty comes in a variety of shapes and colors.

With three renowned children’s books, director and founder of The Culture C.O.-O.P (Caring, Optimistic, Open-Minded, People) Sandy Holman hopes to expose children to the diversity around them. The mission of the Culture C.O.-O.P. is “to promote understanding and respect for diversity/equity, cultural competency, literacy and quality education for all.” Sandy aims to show children that they are beautiful just the way they are.

Each book is embedded with a lesson giving children the tools necessary to deconstruct dated ideals and to learn to appreciate their differences. One of her recent books “Grandma Says Our Hair Has Flair,” targets young girls of African ancestry and the multifaceted aspects of their appearance.  It teaches them that their hair isn’t something to be ashamed of, but is something to celebrate. The sentiment of “loving yourself the way you are” is not a concept singular to the black community, but is one that is beneficial to our society as a whole.

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