(WALA) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in lifting a ban on women serving in combat, said women have become integral to the military's success and have shown they are willing to fight and die alongside their male counterparts.
"The time has come for our policies to recognize that reality," Panetta said Thursday at a Pentagon news conference with Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Panetta said that not all women will be able to meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier.
"But everyone is entitled to a chance," he said.
He said the qualifications will not be lowered, and with women playing a broader role, the military will be strengthened.
The U.S. military is ending its policy of excluding women from combat roles. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban today. The historic change overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. President Obama says he is confident the decision will strengthen the U.S. military. How do you think the decision will impact our nation's military?