On Thursday, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced he's ordering the military to open all combat jobs to women, NBC News reports.
Carter is reportedly giving the military until the new year to implement these changes.
This is a historic move that will fundamentally alter the makeup of America's armed forces. It also corresponds with the Pentagon's decision to lift the combat ban on women back in 2013.
The role of women in the military has long been a topic of heated discussion.
In August, two women graduated from the prestigious US Army Ranger School for the first time ever, which signified the military was adhering to the Pentagon's 2013 decision and shifting toward further integrating females into combat roles.
Around the same time as the women's graduation, a US Marine Corps study suggested mix-gendered combat units aren't as effective as all-male units. But after the study's release, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus highlighted in The Washington Post,
Mabus, among others, fervently supports fully integrating females into the military.
It now seems, in spite of objections from certain members and segments of the armed forces, women will not be denied the opportunity to serve in combat roles on the basis of their gender.
Citations: All Combat Roles Now Open to Women, Pentagon Says (NBC News), Carter telling military to open all combat jobs to women (AP), Pentagon says women in all combat units by 2016 (CNN), Marine Corps Study: All-Male Combat Units Performed Better Than Mixed Units (NPR), U.S. Navy secretary: Women should be among the few and the proud (The Washington Post)