The United States military policy of excluding women from combat is about to end.
Multiple officials have confirmed that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce the change tomorrow, CNN reports.
Ending the ban, in place since 1994, will not open up these positions to women immediately, the Associated Press reports. The Armed Services will have to develop plans for women to attain the positions first. Some jobs may be available as early as this year but others will take longer.
The 1994 ground combat exclusion policy of the U.S. Army states:
“Service members are eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they are qualified, except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.”
The policy also states women are not allowed to be assigned to certain positions based on how close they will be to direct combat.
Two lawsuits were filed in 2012 regarding the ban on women in combat, forcing military officials to discuss possibly overturning the policy. The Joint Chiefs agreed to send the recommendation to Defense Secretary Panetta this month, the Huffington Post reports. The services will have until January 2016 to make a case that some positions should remain closed to women.
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