Washington: The US military's decision to open all combat roles to women as a change will strengthen the nation's armed forces, President Obama has said soon after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made the historical announcement.
"Today, the Defense Department is taking another historic step forward by opening up the remaining 10 per cent of military positions, including combat roles, to women. As Commander in Chief, I know that this change, like others before it, will again make our military even stronger," Obama said in a statement.
"In recent decades, the US had opened about 90 percent of military positions to women who time and again have proven that they, too, are qualified, ready and up to the task," Obama said.
"In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our courageous women in uniform have served with honor, on the front lines -- and some have given their very lives," he said.
"The Pentagon's decision in this regard has been widely welcomed. This decision recognises the strength of all of our service members and will expand leadership opportunities for the many qualified women of our armed forces," Senator Sherrod Brown said.
Senator Dick Durbin described this as a momentous decision not only for the strength of America's national security, but also for equality in the US.
More than 280,000 women have already served honourably in Iraq and Afghanistan in de facto combat situations.
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith said this critical step towards allowing women to serve in all levels of military is a strong move towards achieving full equality in Armed Forces.