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Policy change allows women in combat, special forces

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Updated: 6/18/2013 3:58 pm
(NBC News) Military women could be serving on the front lines in less than three years.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon revealed its timeline reversing a ban on direct combat which many have called discriminatory.

That means women could not only fight on the front line, but become members of elite military teams like the Navy Seals and Army Rangers.

Female rangers would begin training in mid-2015 with navy seal training beginning a year later.

It comes as the Pentagon lifts it 1994 ban on women in combat opening 237,000 combat related positions to women.

But women won't get special treatment they'll have to meet the same physical and mental standards as men.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard is an active member of Hawaii's National Guard.

"If given the opportunity these women would be a great asset to any fighting unit," said Gabbard.

Women have been serving in combat unofficially for years acting as medics, military police and intelligence officers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But opponents worry including women on the front lines will hurt readiness.

"When you put a woman in that situation you create an uncomfortable situation for women and men, because of living conditions," said retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin.

-- Danielle Leigh, NBC News reports
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