Washington, D.C. 5-11-05 - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) defended the line of demarcation that the Military Personnel Subcommittee established with respect to women in combat support units. An amendment was offered today by Subcommittee Chairman John McHugh (R-NY) at Hunter's request.

Hunter's statement is as follows:

“The Forward Support Companies under the new Army modularization will be called upon to move into battle to support combat forces. Rocket-propelled grenades, machine gun fire and all the other deadly aspects of war will make no distinction between women and men on the front lines.

“The nation should not put women into the front lines of combat. In my judgment, we will cross that line soon unless we make a policy decision as we design the new Army.

“Forward Support Companies go forward into battle. That is why they are labeled 'forward' support companies. This in no way forecloses hundreds of defense specialties for women away from the live fire of today's battle field.

“The American people have never wanted to have women in combat and this reaffirms that policy.”