Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Lifts Military Ban On Women Serving In Combat

As one of his last duties before he steps down as Secretary of Defense, the AP is reporting that Leon Panetta is “removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.”

The change overturns a rule set in place in 1994 that prevents women from serving in smaller combat units, though the military would be able to make exceptions where they see fit until 2016.

Earlier this month, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) spoke out against allowing women to serve as infantry warning it “could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units.”

But despite periodic comments like Cotton’s, Congressional voices opposing women serving in combat have grown quieter in recent years allowing Panetta to institute this momentous shift.

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