Pentagon to Lift Some Restrictions on Women in Combat…(Ladies!…We Got Jobs!)
By Luis Martinez
Feb 8, 2012
The Pentagon on Thursday will propose rule changes that will allow more women to formally serve in jobs closer to the front lines.
Defense officials say as many as 14,000 positions could be opened up, though the restrictions on women serving in infantry combat units will remain in place.
The rule change reflects the ongoing reality that in a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, women were already dying in combat with the blurring of the traditional definition of front lines. Nearly 300,000 women have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 144 of them have died in those conflicts.
The rule change is included in a report required by Congress as part of last year’s Defense Authorization Bill that has been overdue for months. The new rules likely will not go into effect until the summer if Congress raises no objections to the change.
Women will still be barred from serving in infantry combat units, defense officials say, but the changes will formally open up new positions at the combat battalion level that, until now, have been off limits.