U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar applauded Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat roles in the military.

Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey are expected to formally announce the change this week. The armed services branches will then develop plans to open jobs in ground combat units to women.
The watershed resolution will come after years of calls from female veterans and women's rights organizations for a fully inclusive military.
"This is a major milestone for our women in uniform, opening up doors that had previously been shut," Klobuchar said in a statement. "We thank all our service members for their sacrifice and commitment to our country."
Overall, women make up about 14 percent of the active-duty military. The Pentagon announced last February that it would open about 14,000 combat-related positions to female troops. But nearly 250,000 other positions were kept off limits to women.

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