Pentagon commission to recommend lifting ban on women in combat

08:48, January 19, 2011      

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A Pentagon commission on equal opportunity plans to recommend lifting the ban on women in combat, the U.S. Defense Department said Tuesday.

According to the department's American Forces Press Service, the nonpartisan commission will make 20 recommendations to President Barack Obama and Congress to increase diversity and inclusiveness and develop "a demographically diverse leadership that reflects the forces it leads and the public it services."

The group concluded that it's now time to eliminate barriers based on gender. The final report on this issue is expected in March.

Current U.S. military policy prohibits women from serving in combat units below the brigade level. And although women make up 14.6 percent of the military, they and minority members still are underrepresented in leadership posts, the commission noted.

Congress repealed the combat exclusion laws in the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act, but requires the services to submit proposed changes to existing assignment policy to Congress for review, Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan said last week. For example, the Navy was required to inform Congress before changing its new policy to authorize women to serve on submarines, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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