The decision to lift the US military's ban on women serving in combat roles will overturn a 1994 policy preventing women from serving in small front-line combat units.
The move would have to implemented by 2016 and the military will have until May 2015 to submit a plan on how they will comply, US officials said.
Individual military services would have to seek exemptions if they believe some combat roles should remain closed to women.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a suit in November seeking to force the Pentagon to end the ban on women in combat, have welcomed the planned move.
More top news
A guide to Donald Trump's presidential inauguration and the key events that will be happening.
At 55, the outgoing president has time to explore a new career path. Here are his plans and the unusual steps taken by other ex-presidents.
A member of the public first contacted emergency services fearing two people were in distress and needed help.