BREAKING: Panetta reportedly removes military ban on women in combat, opening thousands of front line positions

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female soldiers

The link only has the one sentence, but Twitter had this via the AP via senior defense officials:

Panetta removes military ban on women in combat, opening thousands of front line positions. U.S. military has until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe certain positions should remain closed to women.

Waiting for more details, so take it for what it's worth.

UPDATE #2... WaPo clarifies. It's not quite what we think.

The reaction on Twitter has gone from incredulous to celebratory to this:

"Not enough. Lift the entire ban, and stop discriminating against women and barring entire career fields on gender alone."

UPDATE: Multiple officials have confirmed this to CNN. CNN (H/t: @rockrichard, more at the link):

... Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the announcement tomorrow and notify Congress of the planned change in policy.

We will eliminate the policy of ‘no women in units that are tasked with direct combat,’” a senior defense official says.

But the officials caution that “not every position will open all at once on Thursday.” Once the policy is changed, the Department of Defense will enter what is being called an “assessment phase,” in which each branch of service will examine all of its jobs and units not currently integrated and then produce a timetable in which it can integrate them.

The Army and Marine Corps, especially, will be examining physical standards and gender-neutral accommodations within combat units. Every 90 days, the service chiefs will have to report back on their progress.

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