The Straits Times
Published on Jan 24, 2013

US military lifts ban on women in combat: Official


WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States (US) Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban on women serving in combat, a senior defence official said on Wednesday, after a decade of war that saw female troops thrust onto the battlefield.

Mr Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, "are expected to announce the lifting of the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters.

"This policy change will initiate a process whereby the services will develop plans to implement this decision, which was made by the Secretary of Defence upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," the official said in an email.

The official announcement of the move, which would open up hundreds of thousands of combat posts to women, was expected on Thursday, officials said.