January 23rd, 2013
03:21 PM ET

Military to open combat jobs to women

By Chris Lawrence, with reporting from Barbara Starr

[Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET] The U.S. military is ending its policy of excluding women from combat and will open combat jobs and direct combat units to female troops, multiple officials told CNN on Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the announcement Thursday and notify Congress of the planned change in policy, the officials said.

"We will eliminate the policy of 'no women in units that are tasked with direct combat,'" a senior defense official said.

The officials cautioned, however, that "not every position will open all at once on Thursday." Once the policy is changed, the Department of Defense will enter what is being called an "assessment phase," in which each branch of service will examine all its jobs and units not currently integrated and then produce a timetable for integrating them.

Go to CNN's iReport to share your thoughts on women in combat

The Army and Marine Corps, especially, will be examining physical standards and gender-neutral accommodations within combat units. Every 90 days, the service chiefs will have to report on their progress.

The move will be one of the last significant policy decisions made by Panetta, who is expected to leave in mid-February. It is not clear where former Sen. Chuck Hagel, the nominated replacement, stands, but officials say he has been apprised of Panetta's coming announcement.

"It will take a while to work out the mechanics in some cases. We expect some jobs to open quickly, by the end of this year. Others, like special operations forces and infantry, may take longer," a senior defense official explained. Panetta is setting the goal of January 2016 for all assessments to be complete and women to be integrated as much as possible.

The Pentagon has left itself some wiggle room, however, which may ultimately lead to some jobs being designated as closed to women. A senior defense official said if, after the assessment, a branch finds that "a specific job or unit should not be open, they can go back to the secretary and ask for an exemption to the policy, to designate the job or unit as closed."

The official said the goal remains to open as many jobs as possible. "We should open all specialties to the maximum extent possible to women. We know they can do it."

CNN readers skirmish over women in battle

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who spent six years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, said he supports lifting the ban on women serving in combat, pointing out women are already serving in harm's way. But he said the move should not fundamentally change the military.

"As this new rule is implemented, it is critical that we maintain the same high standards that have made the American military the most feared and admired fighting force in the world - particularly the rigorous physical standards for our elite special forces units," McCain said in a statement.

By the numbers: Women in the U.S. military

Thousands of women in the military have already found themselves in combat situations, said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington. Recent wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan have lacked a real front line, and women serving there have come under fire and had to fight back alongside male counterparts, she said.

Murray, who leads the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and is a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, called Panetta's decision a "historic step for equality" that recognizes the role women play in the military.

The Pentagon must notify Congress of each job or unit as it is sent up to the secretary to be opened to women. Then the Defense Department must wait 30 days while Congress is in session before implementing the change.

It is a marked difference from the way the military ended the exclusion of gays serving openly, or the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In that case, there were no stipulations attached to openly gay service members. There was no staggered approach that integrated openly gay troops into units. It was instead done all at once, across the board.

A senior defense official explained the Pentagon's reasoning behind the different approach: "You're talking about personal choice of behavior versus physical capability. And they were already in the units. If you take a unit that's never had women before, that's quite a culture change."

Another senior defense official said the goal is "to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field."

The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Defense, charging that combat exclusion is unfair and outdated, harms America's safety and prevents women from receiving training and recognition for their work. The plaintiffs, who include women awarded Purple Hearts, say the exclusion places them at a disadvantage for promotion.

Former troops say time has come for women in combat units

The ACLU said it is thrilled about Panetta's planned announcement.

"But we welcome this statement with cautious optimism, as we hope that it will be implemented fairly and quickly so that servicewomen can receive the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts," Ariela Migdal, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project, said in the statement.

Earlier this month, the Army opened the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to women, and it has begun recruiting female pilots and crew chiefs. The Navy has put its first female officers on submarines in the past year, and certain female ground troops have been attached to combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 800 women were wounded in those wars, and at least 130 have died.

soundoff (3,654 Responses)
  1. KndnVelm

    how to get viagra online viagra side effects blood pressure how to make viagra at home

    February 28, 2021 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  2. www.Cukrzyca.XMC.pl

    Ive been meaning to read this and just never received a chance. Its an issue that Im extremely interested in, I just started reading and Im glad I did. Youre a good blogger, one of the best that Ive seen. This blog certainly has some info on topic that I just wasnt aware of. Thanks for bringing this things to light.

    http://www.cukrzyca.xmc.pl

    February 28, 2021 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  3. USA.XMC.pl

    A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat analysis on this. And he in reality purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you change into expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with extra details? Its extremely useful for me. Big thumb up for this weblog publish!

    http://www.usa.xmc.pl

    February 22, 2021 at 2:09 am | Reply
  4. LauraMoork

    https://suck-my-dick.xyz – free porn

    maer#$%fhyt

    February 19, 2021 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  5. Nbnhfiple

    buy generic viagra online cheap viagra from canadian pharmacy viagra cost per pill

    February 18, 2021 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  6. Filozofia Blog

    Definitely, what a magnificent blog and revealing posts, I surely will bookmark your site.Have an awsome day!

    http://www.filozofia.xmc.pl

    February 18, 2021 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  7. Fbsgfiple

    does generic cialis work? free 30 day trial cialis cialis 200 mg price

    February 18, 2021 at 6:38 am | Reply
  8. Jbbnreext

    cialis and diltiazem qual Г© o efeito colateral do cialis arnaque achat cialis

    February 17, 2021 at 6:35 am | Reply
  9. Norway

    Trzeba miec, co sie chce! I trzeba zyc, jak sie chce! – Jerzy Pilch

    http://www.norwegia.xmc.pl

    February 15, 2021 at 3:43 am | Reply
  10. Labxreext

    cialis pas cher toulouse all day cialis cialis snabb leverans

    February 14, 2021 at 12:25 am | Reply
  11. https://www.songmanhits.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://images.google.jo/url?q=https://www.songmanhits.com

    February 13, 2021 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  12. KvaxVelm

    america advance loans reviews payday loan nacogdoches tx payday loan online no direct deposit

    February 13, 2021 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  13. Fqbbreext

    amex black card cash advance limit best cash advance rates payday loans one

    February 13, 2021 at 7:21 am | Reply
  14. So Portune

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps: Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic and start earning your income in same day. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://www.k3reviews.com/

    February 13, 2021 at 12:49 am | Reply
  15. KbbfTaism

    viagra online http://kloviagrli.com/ which one is better viagra cialis or laverta

    February 12, 2021 at 1:47 am | Reply
  16. Jbnvclups

    cash advance livermore ca payday day loans payday advance 1000

    February 11, 2021 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  17. Nncsfiple

    viagra online canada canadian pharmacy uk delivery viagra gold 800 mg

    February 11, 2021 at 4:29 am | Reply
  18. Aqcfallogegen

    generic cialis quick shipping cialis 200 mg price cialis with no prescrption

    February 10, 2021 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  19. b7cDRNMPOXv70

    993190 472549 Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is something that is required on the web, someone with just a little originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the internet! 63948

    February 10, 2021 at 9:51 am | Reply
  20. Fvfcfiple

    paypal viagra %22viagra%22 safest sites to buy viagra

    February 10, 2021 at 4:19 am | Reply
  21. Socjologia Studia

    This is actually valuable I hope everybody gets the point youre trying to make here. Im sure all of us readers appreciate your efforts as much as me!

    February 9, 2021 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  22. Jbbvreext

    canadian pharmacies-24h online pharmacies no prescription canadian pharmacy no prescription needed

    February 9, 2021 at 7:49 am | Reply
  23. zithromax z pack

    what is zithromax good for https://zithromaxes.com/ zithromax drug class

    February 8, 2021 at 8:16 am | Reply
  24. long term side effects of plaquenil

    erectile supplements for men https://plaquenilx.com/ service connected erectile dysfunction

    February 8, 2021 at 7:31 am | Reply
  25. chloroquine nz

    cloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ what is chloroquine

    February 8, 2021 at 7:18 am | Reply
  26. buy tadalafil

    tadalafil (tadalis-ajanta) https://tadalisxs.com/ tadalafila 5mg

    February 8, 2021 at 7:14 am | Reply
  27. Metale.XMC.PL

    Najwieksza porazka w zyciu czlowieka to rozziew pomiedzy tym, kim mlgl sie stac, a tym, kim stal sie w rzeczywistosci.- Ashley Montagu.

    February 8, 2021 at 5:25 am | Reply
  28. Lbsxreext

    buying drugs canada viagra cheap online order dapoxetine

    February 7, 2021 at 7:53 am | Reply
  29. Ahkdreext

    navarro pharmacy miami prescription drugs prices canada pharmacy online reviews

    February 6, 2021 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  30. KbcxVelm

    drug price Cialis Soft Tabs drug price

    February 6, 2021 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  31. Pianino co to jest ?

    Sick! Just obtained a brand-new Pearl and I can now read your blog on my phone's browser, it didn't do the job on my previous 1.

    http://www.pianino.xmc.pl

    February 6, 2021 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  32. Maxwell Kittelson

    Earn 2000 a Month With Our Passive Income System

    https://warriorplus.com/o2/a/pmrpp/0

    February 6, 2021 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  33. Fqhhreext

    online pharmacy without scripts canadian rx walgreens pharmacy online

    February 6, 2021 at 1:39 am | Reply
  34. Pianino.XMC.pl

    Id just like to tell you how much I learnt from reading wisdom Bookmarked u.Hope to be back again for some more good articles

    http://www.pianino.xmc.pl

    February 5, 2021 at 9:13 am | Reply
  35. KuikTaism

    viagra dosage women generic viagra buy viagra, canada

    February 5, 2021 at 12:22 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.