In a landmark decision that overturns a 1994 ruling, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has lifted the military’s ban on women in direct combat.
The move will make hundreds of thousands of front-line jobs available to women. It follows a two-month-old federal lawsuit against the Pentagon filed by four servicewomen challenging the combat restriction.
More than 20,000 women, including those who filed in the suit, have served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan without recognition or fair opportunities to advance their careers.
Kristen Rouse is a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard who just returned from her third tour in Afghanistan, and Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and former Pentagon official.