Leon Panetta, in one of his last acts as President Obama’s defense secretary, is preparing to announce the policy change which would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs to women after more than a decade at war, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday.
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.
Some front-line military roles may open to women 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.
‘Preparing to step down’
In recent years the necessities of war propelled women into jobs as medics, military police and intelligence officers that were sometimes attached — but not formally assigned — to units on the front lines. Women comprise 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel.
Panetta is preparing to step down as Obama begins his second term, with former Sen. Charles Hagel nominated to take Panetta’s place.
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Source: Fox News
Image: The Blaze