HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the military would lift its ban on women serving in combat roles.
The change overturns a 1994 rule restricting women from serving in infantry units, and although the decision has been made and does not require the approval of congress, Congressman Steven Palazzo believes there are still many more questions that need to be answered, especially by the service chiefs.
"Women have been in combat zones, women have been hurt, women have been killed, but at the end of the day it's going to be a question of how far do we go down the military occupational specialties," said Palazzo. "They've proven themselves beyond a doubt, and yet I'm looking forward to seeing, you know, the statistics and hearing from the service chiefs. I think there's a lot of questions that need to be answered, I'm looking forward to the conversations going forth because the main thing to me is we have to make sure that we can maintain three things, that's recruitment, retention, and readiness, and that's what's important and I think I'm looking forward to hearing what the service chiefs have to say."
Not every woman who applies for a combat role will be given an opportunity, but the change is expected to open 230,000 front-line positions to women.