Military lifts ban on women in combat

Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in announcing he is lifting a ban on women serving in combat, said he believes women have become an integral part of the military’s ability to succeed.

Panetta made his announcement with the Joint Chiefs chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, at a Pentagon news conference.

Panetta said that not everyone can meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier. But, he said, everyone is entitled to the chance.

He said the qualifications will not be reduced, and withwomen playing a broader role, the military will be strengthened.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.