Panetta Lifts Ban On Women In Combat Roles

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has lifted a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR’s Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.

Citing “senior defense officials,” the AP adds:

“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.”

Back in November, four servicewomen along with the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Pentagon and Panetta over the combat exclusion policy.

Women, the lawsuit claimed, were already serving in combat roles, but were not receiving recognition for it. Last year, the military opened 14,500 positions to women and lifted a rule that prohibited women from living with combat units.

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