Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, has just removed the ban on women in combat roles in the U.S. Armed Forces.
BREAKING NEWS: Panetta removes military ban on women in combat, opening thousands of front line positions. – @ap
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) January 23, 2013
The Huffington Post adds this act allows “hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.”
The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.
Update: 3:50 PM ET, via Boston Globe:
A senior military official says the services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. Some jobs may open as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force, may take longer.
Panetta’s move expands the Pentagon’s action nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. This decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women.
This is a developing story — stay tuned.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.