Panetta Lifts Ban on Women in Military

    U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Carrie Long, a crew chief with the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, checks the inside of an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft during exercise Green Flag West 11-6 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 20, 2011. Green Flag West replicates irregular warfare conditions found in Southwest Asia. Aircrews work closely with Air Force joint terminal attack controllers. Pilots train for close air support and aerial reconnaissance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman/Released)

    Senior Airman Brett Clashman/USAF

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the military ban on women in combat Wednesday, a move that opens up thousands of frontline positions and potential elite commando jobs. The decision gives the U.S. military until 2016 to seek “special exceptions” for jobs they believe should remain closed to women. The highly controversial 1994 ban was brought under scrutiny this past November when four female service members challenged the Pentagon's ban on women in combat.

    Read it at Associated Press