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Defense Secretary Carter opens all combat jobs to women. Is the U.S. preparing for a large scale war?

Defense Secretary Carter opens all combat jobs to women. Is the U.S. preparing for a large scale war?

BY P. J. Tobia for PBS

All combat roles in each branch of the U.S. military will be open to women, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced today at the Pentagon.

Carter said that the military would be opening all “remaining occupations and positions to women. there will be no exceptions.” The implementation will take place 30 days from today.

A Jan. 1 deadline was in place for the branches to open combat positions to women. The Air Force and Navy have relatively few jobs that currently exclude women, mainly in Special Forces units. But the U.S. Army and Marine Corps bar women from nearly 220,000 jobs in what are known as combat arms. These include positions in the infantry, artillery and armored divisions.

Women will “be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat,” he said. They will also be able to compete for spots on elite Special Operations units, such as the Army’s Delta force and the Navy SEALs.

In 2013 then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ordered the services to lift the ban on women serving in combat jobs in the military. The services were ordered to study the issue and develop an implementation plan. Military leaders were also told they could request an exemption if there were some jobs they did not want open to women. The Marine Corps have asked for such exemption.

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