Armed Services panels to review Pentagon push for women in combat

Armed Services panels to review Pentagon push for women in combat
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The House and Senate Armed Services committees will review the Pentagon’s decision to open all combat jobs to women, the chairmen said Thursday, citing Congress’s “constitutional role to make rules” for the military.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's "decision to open combat positions to women will have a consequential impact on our service members and our military's warfighting capabilities,” Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPublisher announces McSally book planned for May release Democrats lead Trump by wide margins in Minnesota Here's what to watch this week on impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Pelosi, delegation make unannounced trip to Afghanistan Pelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation MORE (R-Texas) said in a joint statement Thursday. “The Congress has an essential constitutional role to make rules for the government and regulation of our nation's armed forces.”

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Earlier Thursday, Carter announced that all combat positions would be open to women. The move comes after the Marines had requested an exemption to a 2013 order that lifted the ban on women serving in combat jobs.

"There will be no exceptions," Carter said.

Congress has 30 days to review the effects of the decision.

Their committees will use that time to review all the documents Carter used to make his decision, Thornberry and McCain said. That includes analyzing the 1,000-page Marine study that concluded ground combat units with both genders were less effective than those with just men.

“We expect the department to send over its implementation plans as quickly as possible to ensure our committees have all the information necessary to conduct proper and rigorous oversight,” they said.

Meanwhile, Democrats expressed their support for the decision.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedErdoğan got the best of Trump, experts warn Senators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington MORE (D-R.I.), said that while it will take time for the change to be implemented, combat units will ultimately be stronger when integrated. 

“Letting combat-qualified women serve their country to the fullest of their ability is a smart move that strengthens our nation,” he said in a written statement. “I applaud the administration’s decision to remove, once and for all, arbitrary barriers to service by women in our Armed Forces.”

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate MORE (D-Va.) echoed Reed's sentiment.

“Very supportive of @DeptofDefense decision to open all combat positions to women," he tweeted. "Time for this barrier to be eliminated #WomenWhoServe."