Pentagon Opening More Than 14,000 Additional Positions to Women

The Department of Defense is opening 14,325 new jobs up to women on May 14 when two changes to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, announced by Congress on Feb. 9, go into effect.

Those two changes are lifting the policy prohibiting women from jobs that take place near ground combat units and an “exception to policy” that will allow the Army, Navy and Marines to open select positions at the battalion level in jobs women already occupy.

"When implemented, occupations will no longer be closed to women solely because the positions are required to be co-located with ground combat units," the Pentagon said in announcing the implementation. "Additionally, a sizable number of positions will be opened to women at the battalion level in select direct ground combat units in specific occupations."

Jobs to open will include positions such as tank mechanic and field artillery radar operator.

For example, the Navy will open 60 medical officer, chaplain, chief hospital corpsman and hospital corpsman first class positions to women in Marine Corps ground combat element battalions.

"The secretary of defense has said this is the beginning, not the end, of a process," said Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney.  "The department intends to continue to remove barriers that prevent service members from serving in any capacity in which they qualify."