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Obama Praises DOD for Removing Women’s Combat Exclusion

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2013 – President Barack Obama today expressed his support for the Defense Department’s decision to remove barriers that have prevented military women from serving in direct combat roles.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the policy change today and signed the memo that sets the process into motion.

“Today, by moving to open more military positions -- including ground combat units -- to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens,” the president said in a statement. “This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military.”

More than 150 women have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president noted, calling them “patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.”

Obama said he called Panetta today to express his strong support for the decision, which he said will strengthen the military, enhance readiness, and be another step toward fulfilling the nation’s founding ideals of fairness and equality.

“I congratulate our military, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the rigor that they have brought to this process,” he said. “As commander in chief, I am absolutely confident that -- as with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ -- the professionalism of our armed forces will ensure a smooth transition and keep our military the very best in the world.

“Today,” he continued, “every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love.”


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Related Sites:
Statement by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta
Statement by President Barack Obama
Joint Memo
Defense Department News Release

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