The US military will open up combat positions
to women, ending longstanding exclusions that kept them from most
jobs that put them directly in the fight, US media reported
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta will announce the policy change Thursday, unnamed senior Defence Department officials told CNN.
The military last year opened to women thousands of additional positions for the first time, by narrowing rules meant to keep them out of combat.
After more than a decade of counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, those changes allowed women in non-combat roles to officially take posts that put them closer to combat, in an era when battlefields have few clear lines.
The latest development would allow them into positions that involve direct fighting, such as infantry units, but would leave the actual integration up to each branch of the military.
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