The Pentagon Approves Combat Roles For Women

Marines Girl Woman

Photo: Charles S. Howard via U.S. Marine Corps

The debate over women in combat is over.The Associated Press reports that defence Secretary Leon Panetta has officially removed restrictions barring women from serving in ground combat elements, “opening thousands of positions.”

From the AP:

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting 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.

The ruling opens up, specifically, positions with infantry, special operations and tank units. A new debate surely begins though: can women pass the physical requirements in order to earn those positions?

The Marine Corps has promised this fiscal year to put 100 women through their Infantry Officers Course. So far, two have attempted the course and both have washed out.

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