WASHINGTON — January 23, 2013 - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the military's ban on women serving in combat, a move that will allow women into hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando units, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday.
Women currently serve in a number of combat positions, including piloting warplanes or serving on ships in combat areas. Since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 292,000 women have served in those combat zones out of a total of almost 2.5 million, Pentagon records show. In both wars, 152 women have died from combat or noncombat causes, records show, and 958 have been wounded in action.
The move will be announced officially Thursday afternoon by Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the official, who spoke anonymously because Panetta had not yet made the announcement. read more>>>
SUMMARY - Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta decided to lift the ban on women in the military serving in combat, opening thousands of front line jobs to women and reversing the 1994 policy that kept them out of those positions. Gwen Ifill talks with James Kitfield of National Journal about the historic change and implications. Transcript>>>
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