Following a recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided that the military will allow women to serve in combat units.
According to the New York Times, "Panetta’s decision came after he received a Jan. 9 letter from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who stated in strong terms that the armed service chiefs all agreed that 'the time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.'"
The decision, which does not require action by Congress, will be implemented over several years by different branches of the military, the Times said.
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