Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta has made a landmark decision today to remove the military’s long-standing ban on women serving on the front lines, which will essentially open up thousands of positions that were once off-limits to female soldiers.
Panetta’s announcement comes after the country has been at war for over a decade.
101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Chang talks about her thoughts on the decision.
The change in policy was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which overturns a 1994 rule barring women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.
Lieutenant Colonel Chang says she is confident women, who choose to serve in a combat position will be capable of doing their jobs, just like their male counterparts.
In her 16-year military career, Lieutenant Colonel Chang deployed to Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and to Afghanistan in 2004 to 2005 and will once again be deploying next month to Afghanistan when the division is set to deploy.
All branches of service have until January 2016 to request special exceptions.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are expected to report back to Panetta with preliminary plans by May 15th.
About 14 percent of the estimated 1.4 million active duty soldiers are female service members.