Defense Secretary Lifts Ban on Women in Combat


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced on Wednesday that he’s lifting the ban on women serving in combat roles.

The Associated Press broke the news:

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.

Panetta’s decision makes women eligible for another 238,000 jobs in the military. The DoD last changed its rules on this in February 2011, when it opened 14,000 more jobs to women. The ban on women serving in combat roles was the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by four female service members who argued that the policy limited their ability to advance in the armed forces and did not reflect the reality that many women are already serving in combat roles in practice, if not in name.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the four women in that case, issued a statement on Wednesday noting that the group is “thrilled” at the announcement. “But,” added Ariela Migdal, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, “we welcome this statement with cautious optimism, as we hope that it will be implemented fairly and quickly so that servicewomen can receive the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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