The US military will let women serve in all combat roles, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.
“As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” Carter told a Pentagon news conference Thursday.
“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat.
“They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
US President Barack Obama called the move a “historic step forward”, saying it would “make our military even stronger”.
Carter said the opening to women would take place following a 30-day review period, after which they would be integrated into the new roles in a “deliberate and methodical manner” as positions come open, Reuters reported.
The waiting period enables Congress to review the decision and raise any objections.
Women already serve in combat roles for the armed forces of a few developed countries, including Canada and Israel, but officials have said demand from women for such jobs in most NATO countries is very low.
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