Army Directive About Balancing Lactation Support and Readiness-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
A widely circulated forwarded email has taken issue with an Army policy that directs Army command posts around the world to balance lactation support and readiness.
Claims about a directive from Secretary of the Army John McHugh’s directive to balance lactation support and readiness are true.
McHugh’s Army Directive 2015-37, Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Policy, which went into effect in September 2015. An official summary of the policy states:
Based on Secretary of the Army John McHugh-approved Army Directive 2015-37Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Policy, effective Sept. 29, 2015, commanders will designate a private space with locking capabilities, an electrical outlet, and access to a safe water source for Soldiers to express milk. If the designated space is within a restroom, it will be a fully enclosed, separate area designated for breastfeeding or expressing milk (i.e. not a bathroom stall). Army senior leaders expect commanders and Soldiers to collectively work to balance lactation support and readiness. The policy is not too prescriptive to afford commanders the flexibility to support the unique needs of women Soldiers who request breastfeeding and lactation support.
One particular phrase in the passage has drawn criticism and commentaries about the transformation of the military under President Obama’s watch and current priorities: “Army senior leaders expect commanders and soldiers to collective work to balance lactation support and readiness.”
The most blistering commentary about the Army’s lactation support policy came from retired Lt. Col. Fred DiBella. It first appeared in a community forum for the Westpoint class of 1969 that circulates commentaries among a closed group of subscribers. It was later shared as a forwarded email and has since appeared in countless forums.
The commentary states, in part:
Sorry, I’m old school, but I THOUGHT READINESS WAS NEVER, EVER COMPROMISED… let alone for “lactation support”.
Have we gone completely mad?!? Do you think for a moment that the greatest fighting force the planet has ever known is immune to emasculation? That there’s nothing that Obama can do to significantly degrade its lethality? That somehow we will magically prevail, despite all this sh**?
We won’t weigh in on differing views about the Army’s lactation support policy since they’re shaped by personal opinions and not facts.
However, we can confirm that the Army’s lactation support policy and the particular statement about balancing lactation support and readiness are true.