Female soldiers will no longer be relegated to supporting roles in America’s military. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plans to overturn a 1994 rule that prohibits women from taking positions in combat units.
Described as a “groundbreaking move” by The Huffington Post, Panetta’s decision opens up hundreds of thousands of front-line jobs for women in the military. It’s also possible that women will find themselves eligible for elite positions in America’s special forces.
The changes, expected to be announced more fully today, Jan. 24, won’t come quickly, however. Military branches are being asked to create plans to open the doors for women to serve. Some of the new jobs might open up later this year, but branches will have until January 2016 to make cases that some positions, such as slots in the Navy SEALS, are not suitable for women, the Post reports.
It is unclear at this time whether women who volunteer for military service would be assigned to combat positions if they didn’t seek them out.
Here’s what we’d like your take on Tampa Bay: Is it time for the military to level the playing field? Or, do you think women should be kept off the front-lines? What about the draft? Should women between the ages of 18 and 25 also have to register with the Selective Service? Share your thoughts in the comments section.