WASHINGTON (KTTC) -- The U.S. military made a move to end the 19-year ban on women in combat -- opening up hundreds of thousands of front-line positions.
Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has lifted the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military.
The groundbreaking move overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat.
This all comes after a lawsuit filed in November challenging the legitimacy of such a ban.
Lifting the ban will open approximately 237 thousand individual jobs to women across service branches.
Staff Sergeant Andrea Drost served in Iraq and Kuwait in the Minnesota National Guard and says the biggest benefit of the change is the opened opportunities.
When you read the Secretary of Defense's statement, he in no way shape or form said I want women in the infantry because that's going to make the infantry better," Drost said. "That's not the point of this. What they're trying to do is give the candidate pool a fair shake, so we're trying to get the best qualified candidate, and we need to look at all candidates to include women."
Right now there are more than 200 thousand women serving in the military.
The decision gives until January 2016 for military service branches to argue that there are military roles that should remain closed to women.
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