Inhofe suggests he’ll try to block women from some combat positions

Inhofe’s statement is a stark contrast to most Republicans who have weighed in on the ban, including his predecessor on the Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

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McCain said Wednesday that he respected and supported Panetta’s decision to lift the ban, although he added that it was critical to maintain the same rigorous high standards for special operations units — something Pentagon officials said Thursday was not changing.

House Armed Services Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) also said that he “welcomed the review” by the services, as women have “demonstrated a wide range of capabilities in combat operations” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After news broke Wednesday that the ban was ending, Inhofe blasted the Pentagon, saying it was “unacceptable” the information was leaked before Congress was briefed.

In that statement, he said that he did not believe the end of the ban would lead to a broad opening of combat roles for women.

The military service chiefs have been instructed to develop plans for implementing the end of the ban by May, and the services have until 2016 to request exemptions to keep women out of specific combat units or operations.

Inhofe emphasized that the Senate Armed Services Committee will have a period “to provide oversight and review,” and he was the first to suggest that Congress might introduce legislation to block changes the military wants to make.

Any changes the military makes to open new positions to women requires 30-day notice to Congress before they are implemented, although Congress would have to pass new laws to stop the moves.