The issue of women in combat has long been a thorny one for the military. While laws forbidding women from serving in combat were repealed 20 years ago, there have been Pentagon regulations that have essentially done the same thing since then, and women have been relegated to support roles rather than combat positions. But now, given the changing nature of combat, the Marine Corps has realized that is essentially a stupid policy to have in place. And so they've decided to finally take steps to involve women in combat roles by allowing them to volunteer for infantry training. While we won't be allowed to serve in frontline combat units just yet, this latest move is certainly a major step toward that.
For more than a year, the Marine Corps has been doing extensive research on additional jobs that could be opened to women, and, according to General Joseph Dunford, they've decided based on that to enroll some female volunteers in the Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Virginia. He told the Military Times, "We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers." While specifics have yet to be announced, there apparently is also a plan in the works to allow enlisted women to be assigned to Infantry Training Battalions as well. It's not known how many women total, either officer or enlisted, will be involved in this initial effort, since it's really up to how many people volunteer—though one imagines there are plenty of brave, capable women who've been waiting for just such an opportunity to open up.
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