Women are now officially allowed in combat roles - on the front lines of the battle.
That's because the lines are changing - or, perhaps, blurring.
Truth is that women have long been "in harms way," laying down their lives for their country.
Truth is that, active-duty female personnel make up roughly 15 percent -- or 207,308 members of the more than 1.4 million members -- of the armed forces. Since 2001, 280,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Of that number, 152 women have been killed in combat in the two wars, and 946 were wounded, according to the latest Defense data.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) — the purple heart recipient and the first woman injured in combat to be elected to national office in November — applauded the move as a broadening of opportunities for women and said it will improve the nation's armed forces.
But several older veterans said most women are not physically strong enough to participate directly in combat.
To reassure them, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said, "If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job -- and let me be clear, we are not reducing qualifications -- then they should have the right to serve."
He says that like this is a new concept.
General Dempsy said that the ban was a "technical correction" that, "may help stem sexual assault."
I get the first part. It is a "technical correction," especially in face of the facts about women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. I honestly don't see the new rules stemming sexual assault.
The "corrective," I fear, doesn't get that "technical".
I'm not sure, exactly, what the good General means, except that I think it's important that he raised that particular flag. It's an admission of the truth that, while women have been keeping the country safe, the military has not done much to keep women safe.
That was an unintended, additional benefit of the announcement.
I confess that I am decidedly ambivalent about women in combat. I confess that I don't understand why a woman - or, for that matter, a man - would want to be in combat. That being said, I support equal access to employment, even if it's work in the midst of combat.
Of course, the new order doesn't go into effect until January, 2016, but it will open up hundreds of thousands of jobs for women.
Although the Defense Department opened 14,325 jobs to women in May 2012, some 237,854 (roughly 19 percent) of the 1.2 million positions available throughout the military remained closed to women.
Another 184,000 jobs involve specialties, such as tank crewman, that have also been closed to women.
All these jobs will officially open up to women January 2016.
Women who qualify - mentally and physically.
The standards have not been lowered, the qualifications have not been reduced and the requirements have not changed.
Because valor knows no gender.