In historic shift, U.S. military to open all combat jobs to women

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter holds a news conference at the Pentagon. REUTERS

The Associated Press is reporting today that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will soon announce a historic change: The military will open all combat jobs to women.

The Marine Corps recently took steps to exclude women from certain front-line combat jobs.

Carter was expected to announce the change on Thursday, according to a senior defense official, who was not authorized to discuss the change publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Carter is giving the armed services until Jan. 1 to submit plans to make the historic change.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford, former Marine Corps commandant, had argued that the Marines should be allowed to keep women out of certain front-line combat jobs, citing studies showing that mixed-gender units aren't as capable as all-male units. Carter's decision was a rejection of that argument.

Carter's order will let women serve in the military's most grueling and difficult jobs, including as special operations forces, such as the Army Delta units and Navy SEALs, according to the defense official.

Carter telling military to open all combat jobs to women [AP]