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Defense Department rescinds direct combat exclusion rule; services to expand integration of women into previously restricted occupations and units 
Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
Panetta signs memo 

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta hands Army Lt. Col. Tamatha Patterson a document he signed during a news conference at the Pentagon, Jan. 24, 2013, to lift the Defense Department's ban on women in direct ground combat roles. (DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)  

Click here or on the photo for a high-resolution image.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013   

CONTACT:
Colorado National Guard Public Affairs
720-250-1053

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (1/24/13) -- Today, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey announced the rescission the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women and that the Department of Defense plans to remove gender-based barriers to service.

The Colorado National Guard embraces the Secretary of Defense’s announcement regarding this change in the policy that prevented females from entering combat career fields.

“The Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs have taken a close look at this policy and made an informed decision,” said Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, the Adjutant General of Colorado and commander of the Colorado National Guard. “Both my son and daughter are Colorado National Guard members and want each of them to have equal opportunities for personal and professional success.”

Using these guiding principles, positions will be opened to women following service reviews and the congressional notification procedures established by law.  Secretary Panetta directed the military departments to submit detailed plans by May 15, 2013, for the implementation of this change, and to move ahead expeditiously to integrate women into previously closed positions.  The secretary’s direction is for this process to be complete by Jan. 1, 2016.

This policy may potentially open up roughly 1,200 of the Colorado Army National Guard's primarily combat arms positions, currently open only to males. These positions will be reassessed as implementation guidelines are provided by U.S. Army leadership.

The Colorado Air National Guard currently has no gender-based job specialty restrictions.

“We will make any necessary force structure changes needed to fully support the policy changes that come down from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force,” said Edwards.

For policy and implementation questions, contact the Office of Secretary of Defense, see below.

Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde
Defense Department Spokesperson
Personnel and Readiness
Leslie.hullryde@osd.mil
703-614-6059

Related links:

Department of Defense news release with guiding principles for this implementation can be found at: http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=15784

The Joint Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Women in Service Review Memorandum can be viewed at: http://www.defense.gov/news/WISRJointMemo.pdf      

The Chairman's Women in Service Review Memorandum can be viewed at: http://www.defense.gov/news/WISRImplementationPlanMemo.pdf   

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1/24/2013