(USA TODAY) WASHINGTON — Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has lifted the military's ban on women serving in combat, a move that will allow women into hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs, a senior Defense official said Wednesday.
The move, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 1994 rule banning women from such roles, said a Pentagon official speaking on anonymity because the decision has not been announced publicly.
Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women. It comes after more than 10 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Advertisement - story continues below