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SAS / SBS : Women Need Not Apply

30.01.2013

British Special Forces regiments, the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) are not keen to welcome women into their ranks, it has emerged. The Daily Express reports (1) that Special Forces commanders have instructed their lawyers to find legal loopholes to exempt the organizations from any future requirement to accept women into front line roles.

The move is a reaction to recently announced plans by the US military to allow women into combat roles. The American shift in policy, along with EU equality legislation, has led to speculation that the MoD may follow suit. For its part, the MoD states:

“The MoD comprehensive review into the exclusion of women from ground close-combat roles concluded that there should be no changes to the existing policy.”

Women already play a combat role within United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF). The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) recruits from both sexes, as did the unit's predecessor, 14 Intelligence Company. Female 14 Intelligence Company operatives carried out numerous operations in Northern Ireland. Female SRR operators were recently deployed on security operations for the 2012 Olympics. (2) Women in the SRR undergo extensive training in close combat with a range of firearms.

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