According to senior defense officials who spoke with CNN, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to lift the ban on women serving in certain sectors of the military, including infantry and other front-line combat positions that are currently off-limits.
Many lawmakers on the Hill are praising the Pentagon's move, including Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is one of the first female combat veterans ever to serve in the United States Congress.
Gabbard reacts to the decision on Starting Point this morning, calling it a "major step" that is "finally an official recognition of the sacrifices women have been making for the country."
While acknowledging that military standards "should not be compromised" because of the new policy, Gabbard says that "if women meet those standards, they should be allowed to serve."
Responding to critics who say that serving on the front lines with members of the opposite sex would be distracting, Gabbard says, "in these situations, we’re talking about highly trained professionals and all of the things that differentiate us fall aside when you’re there putting the mission first and serving as a member of the team."