US DoD lifts ban on female combat troops
By Daniel Wasserbly
The US military will now allow women to serve in 'direct ground combat', but the details of how and when are still being discussed, top Pentagon officials announced on 24 January.
"We are eliminating the direct ground combat exclusion rule for women and are moving forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service," US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said during a press briefing at the Pentagon.
During the event he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey signed a memorandum rescinding the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule that barred women from combat.
Panetta explained that women will have to meet the same mental and physical standards as men before they can serve in official combat roles. "We're not talking about reducing the qualifications for the job," he stated.
There did not appear to be much opposition to the move among members of Congress, although the ban on women in combat is an executive order and therefore within the remit of the Pentagon and White House, as was a similar but now lifted ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military.194 of 654 words
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