(The Guardian) — After years of debate, all jobs in combat units are now open to women. Defense secretary Ashton Carter announced the decision on Thursday, saying: “There will be no exceptions.”

“[A]s long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.” Considering women have long been serving and dying on the front lines despite a ban that kept them from career advancement, the move is long overdue.

The decision comes after a 2012 lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union filed on behalf of four servicewomen and the Service Women’s Action Network and a 2013 recommendation from former defense secretary Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs that lifted the 1994 ban on women in combat. Now that lifted ban will finally be implemented, freeing up thousands of jobs that women were previously barred from having.

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