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DoD to Open 14,000 Jobs to Women

February 9, 2012

The DoD recently announced that it would open roughly 14,000 job assignments to women by removing two key barriers for women serving in combat.

The change is the result of a yearlong review by the Pentagon, ordered by Congress. The rules will allow women to be formally positioned in crucial and dangerous jobs closer to front lines, but stops short of officially allowing women to serve in combat.

The first change revokes a 1994 policy which prohibited women from serving in positions "near" combat units. This will allow women to serve in such positions as field artillery radar operators and tank mechanics.

The second change will allow women to take assignments at the battalion level in jobs they already perform. It is an exception to a policy in place. Currently, women are assigned at the brigade level or by virtue of being attached to a battalian rather than officially assigned to it. 

An estimated 238,000 positions are still closed to women, mostly in infantry, armor and special operations units.

The new rules are set to take effect gradually. Congress has repeatedly rejected allowing women in combat and has asked the Pentagon to review the situation after it became obvious that women were actually serving in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq. 

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