London, Jan. 24 : U. S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to lift the ban on women military personnel serving on the front line, opening more than 230,000 front line positions and elite commando posts for them.
According to a senior Pentagon official, the policy change will initiate a process whereby the services will develop plans to implement this decision, which was made by the Defense Secretary upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, BBC reports.
Welcoming the move, the Senate Committee on Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin said the lifting of the ban reflects the reality of conducting military operations in the 21st century.
The move comes in the light of a case against the U. S. Department of Defence by four women soldiers, who argued that the 1994 ban was unconstitutional and blocked their advancement in the Marines.
Restrictions were first eased a year ago, when the Pentagon opened up 14,500 roles, closer to the front line, which had previously been off limits to female personnel.
Women comprise 14 per cent of America''s 1.4 million active military personnel. (ANI)