The military branches will have until January 1, 2016, to begin putting plans in place to open combat roles to female members of the military, and will have to begin implementing the plans by April 1, according to the report.
The decision follows years of studies by the military about whether women were fit for combat roles. Earlier this year, the Army recommended the change, while the Marine Corps asked Carter to keep some roles limited to male troops.
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“Like our outstanding force of today, the force of the future must continue to benefit from the best people America has to offer, and in the 21st century that requires drawing strength from the broadest possible pool of talent. This includes women, ” Carter said during the briefing today.