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U.S. Military To Announce Reversal On Policy That Bans Women From Combat

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(CBS)

(CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—The U.S. military is making a reversal on its policy that bans women from serving in combat. The lifting of the ban is expected to be formally announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday.

It’s being called a groundbreaking move by the Pentagon, one that will open more than 230,000 military jobs, including spots in Army and Marine infantry units to women.

It comes less than two months after a federal lawsuit was filed by four U.S. servicewomen challenging the military’s ban on women in direct combat positions.

U.S. Air National Guard Major Mary Jennings Heger, one of the plaintiffs, spoke in November.

“Cautious optimism, I’m very excited at the steps that are being taken. It is one step, albeit a very large step,” she said.

On Wednesday, ACLU Staff Attorney Elizabeth Gill, who has worked with the plaintiffs, celebrated the decision.

Gill said incremental changes are not good enough.

“Slowly opening up positions over many decades is harming women in the armed services, but also constraining commanders on the field now,” she said.

Some of the job openings could be available as soon as this year.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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