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The Department of Defense announced assignment policy changes for female employees that will be implemented May 14, opening more than 14,000 new jobs to women.

“The secretary of defense has said this is the beginning, not the end, of a process,” said Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney. “The department intends to continue to remove barriers that prevent service members from serving in any capacity in which they qualify.” 

The two changes to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, announced February 9 in a report to Congress, could not be implemented without a Congressionally-mandated notification period, which has now expired.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has directed the services to update him in six months on assignment implementation, to include efforts to pursue gender-neutral physical standards, an assessment of the newly opened positions and identification of any further positions that can be opened.

“Women have contributed immeasurably to our efforts, here and abroad,” Rooney said. “We simply could not do the mission without them.”

WISR Report to Congress