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Lawmakers and female veterans applauded Wednesday’s news, saying the ban on women in combat roles is obsolete.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