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The Boston Globe

Nation

Military to allow women into combat jobs

WASHINGTON — Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plans to announce on Thursday a lifting of the ban on women in combat roles on, a watershed change that removes the remaining barrier to a fully inclusive military, defense officials said.

Panetta made the decision ‘‘upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,’’ a senior defense official said Wednesday, an assertion that stunned female veteran activists who said they assumed that the brass was still uneasy about opening the most physically arduous positions to women. Officials said the decision was influenced by women’s valor in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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