Defense Secretary telling military to open all combat jobs to women

(USAF / Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Associated Press has learned that Defense Secretary Ash Carter will order the military to open all combat jobs to women, and is giving the armed services until Jan. 1 to submit plans to make the historic change.

Carter’s announcement is expected later Thursday. It rebuffs arguments from the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman that the Marine Corps should be allowed to exclude women from certain front-line combat jobs, citing studies showing that mixed-gender units aren’t as capable as all-male units.

Previous story: Marines may seek to keep women from some combat jobs

“People are the strength of our military,” Carter said recently at the Pentagon. “And frankly, for the all-volunteer force to stay the strongest, for us to attract and retain the best people in the years ahead, we need to draw the top talent from the largest and most complete pool of Americans that we can. And the simple fact is that women make up half of the American population.”

A senior defense official says all the services will have to begin putting plans in place by April 1.

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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