Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey announced yesterday that they were lifting the 1994 Combat Exclusion Policy that bans women from serving directly in the infantry and other ground combat units. The move has been greeted with mixed reaction, with some hailing it as a victory for equal rights and others saying it will weaken the U.S. military.
I’ve spent most of the last 24 hours working on a full-length cover story that will be published soon addressing what the change means for Marines. In particular, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett and Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, sat down with me yesterday afternoon to discuss it.
For now, here’s a video of Barrett that the Corps released last night addressing the change: