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On women commanding divisions...

Jay Season had this to say on that subject in a comment to a previous post:

Who wants to make a prediction on the first female Army combat arms division commander? I'm leaning towards the 101st, and here is how: A female aviation full bird will get fast tracked to a 1 star assistant division commander slot someplace, do a stint with the joint chiefs staff, and from there it is just a 1 star jump to 101st CG, no?

Jay isn't keeping an eye on the Generals.  He's right of course.  He's just late to it.  The leading female contender to command a division?  BG Richardson, who came to it out of Aviation, and who just got her orders for a new job - as she leaves her ADC job at 1st Cavalry:

Brig. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, deputy commanding general (support), 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, to deputy chief of staff, communications, Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

I say bring it on.  Division commanders are not warfighters per se, in the way that brigade commanders are.  The Germans even formalized it in their two-track system.  One track for unit-based combat commanders, the other for General Staff officers.  The two merged at Major General/Divsion command.  And it works.  BG Richardson comes out of combat aviation, so she's been involved in planning and participating in combined arms maneuver warfare and has to understand the value of training from soup to nuts, as well as maintenance and supply.  It doesn't mean she's up to the task of commanding a divsion, but if she isn't, it won't be because of her plumbing.

Just sayin'.

4 Comments

I cannot support women in combat arms units at the hand to hand grunt level.  That is just wrong, and the physical differences make it a really bad idea.

That said, some women certainly CAN do the support jobs, including command and control and tactics and strategy, including command of combat forces.  How they professionally prepare and qualify for these levels of responsibility without having the grunt level box checked is a problem I cannot solve.

Women can be strong, decisive and effective leaders and champions of freedom.  I'd take Lady Thatcher over just about anyone inside the beltway today.  Folks who think with their heads can lead, those whose plumbing drives their lives should seek other careers.
 
The Army will have a female division commander in the next four years.  The Marine Corps may as well, although just the smaller number of possibilities make it less likely.  John is correct that BG Laura Richardson is the leading candidate. Aviator, at the end of her next job in about a year, she will have punched all of her tickets. The 101st is the most likely job for an aviator, but she could land (no pun intended) elsewhere as well.  If not her, then someone else, sooner rather than later.
 
Some of it comes down to timing as well...if they're going to track her toward the Puking Buzzards, they're due for a change of command this summer(ish). [I'm basing that on MG Schloesser changing with MG Campbell in 2009, Campbell with McConville in 2011.

Has anyone ever compiled numbers to see which 1-stars get the bigger share of division commands, the ones who serve as DCG-O/M, or DCG-S?

I know McConville was the -S for the 101 when we relieved them in 2009 at RC-E.  And the 1ID commander (as of last summer, anyway) MG Mayville, was the -S in the 82nd when we did.

Come to think of it, Odierno was the 1AD -S way back in 1999, too.

Now, I think Sinclair is/was an aviator, and he's pretty much out of the running as competition...
 
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