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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:37 PM

Defense chief Panetta to clear women for combat roles [View all]

By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube, NBC News

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to clear the way for women to serve in many combat positions in the U.S. armed forces, a senior defense official told NBC News on Wednesday afternoon.

The Pentagon chief will announce on Thursday that he is eliminating the direct ground combat exclusion the Department of Defense policy that excluded women from assignment to units below the brigade level if the unit would be engaged in direct combat.

This will allow women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at the battalion level.

"I support it. It reflects the reality of 21st century military operations," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in anticipation of the announcement.


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Reply Defense chief Panetta to clear women for combat roles [View all]
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