WASHINGTON (AP) — Military leaders are ready to begin tearing down the remaining walls that have prevented women from having thousands of combat and special operations jobs near the front lines.
Under details of the plans obtained by The Associated Press, women could start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later.
The military services have mapped out a schedule that also will include reviewing and possibly changing the physical and mental standards that men and women will have to meet in order to quality for certain infantry, armor, commando and other front-line positions across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Under the plans to be introduced today, there would be one common standard for men and women for each job.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reviewed the plans and has ordered the services to move ahead.
The move follows revelations of a startling number of sexual assaults in the armed forces. Earlier this year, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the sexual assaults might be linked to the longstanding ban on women serving in combat because the disparity between the roles of men and women creates separate classes of personnel — male "warriors" versus the rest of the force.