US military wants 'the best people regardless of gender'

The Pentagon's move to lift a ban on women in front-line combat roles has been hailed by supporters as an historic step toward gender equality in America's armed forces after 11 years of non-stop war.

In a statement Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said:

The Department's goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender.

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US lifts women combat ban

The Pentagon has officially scrapped the military's ban imposed in 1994 on woman serving in front-line combat roles. The outgoing US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta will make a formally announcement later this evening.