WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after the Pentagon announced that after years of study, all combat jobs, including infantry units, will be open to qualified women beginning next year, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“Letting combat-qualified women serve their country to the fullest of their ability is a smart move that strengthens our nation.  I applaud the Administration’s decision to remove, once and for all, arbitrary barriers to service by women in our Armed Forces. 

“The U.S. military is adapting to 21st century realities.  Women are already serving on the front lines in hotspots around the world and this simply means servicemembers can be assigned to any position they are qualified for.

“This has been a multi-year, deliberative process that has required the Services to verify and develop occupational standards based on performance, not gender. 

“Change will not happen overnight.  It will likely take some time before women are assigned to certain combat occupations.  But going forward, the combat effectiveness of our forces will increase as integrated units are able to take advantage of the very best talent available for military service, without restriction.

“I urge the Secretary and senior military leadership to carefully monitor the integration process and to develop long-term strategies that will enable all our warriors, men and women, to serve full and rewarding careers.”

Reed, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, noted that earlier this year the U.S. Army took a major step in opening Ranger School to all soldiers, regardless of gender, and three women made history when they graduated from the school this Fall.