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US women to serve in front-line combat roles

December 4, 2015 5:05 pm

The US military will let women serve in all combat roles, in a historic move striking down gender barriers in the armed forces.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said as long as women qualified and met the standards, they will now be able to contribute “in ways they could not before”.

“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,” he said.

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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.

The waiting period enables Congress to review the decision and raise any objections.

Carter acknowledged the decision could lead to more debate over whether women would have to register for the draft, an issue he said was already under litigation.

The US military is currently an all-volunteer force, but young men still are required to register in case the draft is reactivated.

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