More than 14,000 military jobs previously closed off to female troops because of their proximity to combat will become available to them on May 14, the Department of Defense announced today.
The announcement stems from two big changes made in February 2012 to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule. That rule in essence banned female service members from working in positions near combat units - positions like tank mechanics and field artillery radar operators.
According to the Department of Defense, this will all change on May 14:
When implemented, occupations will no longer be closed to women solely because the positions are required to be co-located with ground combat units. Additionally, a sizable number of positions will be opened to women at the battalion level in select direct ground combat units in specific occupations. The services will continuously assess their experience with these exceptions to policy to help determine future changes to the assignment rules.
As Home Post pointed out back in February, the Pentagon's new policy doesn't officially allow women in combat - a point many military watchers say is simply semantics. CBS News put together this report on the sacrifices made by women who already serve in unofficial combat roles: