The Pentagon has officially lifted the ban on female service members in combat.

The news came as a surprise to female veteran activists, many of whom assumed military top brass were still apprehensive to take such measures.

The Army and Marines will present plans for opening these combat-related jobs to women by May 15th. Senior commanders will have until January of 2016 to highlight positions that should be exempt from the intiative.

From the Washington Post:

“The onus is going to be on them to justify why a woman can’t serve in a particular role,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plan before the official announcement.

The decision comes after a decade of counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, where women demonstrated hero­ism on battlefields with no front lines. It dovetails with another seismic policy change in the military that has been implemented relatively smoothly: the repeal of the ban on openly gay service members.

Lawmakers and female veterans applauded Wednesday’s news, saying the ban on women in combat roles is obsolete.



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