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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on International Women's Day

Today, on International Women's Day, the Department of Defense recognizes the tremendous, enduring contributions that women Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Guardians, and civilian employees have made in service to our country.
From America's first days, women have made profound sacrifices for our republic. They have made innovative contributions to our national security, blazed trails for future generations, and inspired us with their dedication, skill, and patriotism. Since the Revolutionary War, more than three million women have stepped up to serve their country in uniform, even before the military fully recognized their service.
This year, we mark the 75th anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, which paved the way for women to officially serve in all U.S. military branches, and the 10th anniversary of opening all combat roles to women. The logic behind these decisions was clear and compelling: Our military needs the best warfighters in every domain.  
That remains true today. Though the Department has made significant progress to break down stubborn barriers for women in the U.S. military, we know that we still have more to do to promote inclusion and well-being and to give all our teammates the opportunity to rise to their full potential. I am personally committed to this vital work. To ensure that we continue to have the strongest fighting force in the world, we must draw on the full power of all our people. 
On this International Women's Day and every day, our country thanks the patriots in our extraordinary All-Volunteer Force for the sacrifices that they make to build a stronger, safer, and more secure world.