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Ernst Fights for Female Soldiers Who Played Critical Roles in Afghanistan and Iraq

Under current policies, certain female veterans are denied proper recognition, benefits, and critical healthcare services

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, is leading a bipartisan charge to amend military records of female veterans who deployed alongside Special Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure they accurately reflect their work as members of Cultural Support Teams (CST). These female veterans shared similar operational experiences as their male peers but have not been recognized for their combat service, denying them rank, benefits, and critical healthcare services.

“Make no mistake – women have been wearing our nation’s uniform and serving honorably in war zones long before our military removed the ban on women serving in combat,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “As the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate, I’m proud to fight for the hundreds of women who played critical roles in Afghanistan and Iraq and ensure they receive the care and recognition they have always deserved.” 


Before female servicemembers were able to formally serve in combat roles, CSTs were deployed to combat zones with Special Operations Forces (SOF) in order to engage with female populations, greatly expanding operational and intelligence capabilities.

This bipartisan effort would require the review of the military records of CST women veterans who served from 2010 to 2021 in support of Special Operations Forces. The bill is named the Jax Act after Jaclyn “Jax” Scott, who served on a Cultural Support Team and has been leading the fight to get female combat veterans the recognition and benefits they earned. 

Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) are leading the Jax Act alongside Senator Ernst.