Another bar has been lifted for the female combatants in the Army, National Guard and Army Reserve: virtually all field artillery officer jobs are now open to them, it was reported Thursday.
The directive from Army Secretary John McHugh opens more than 3,000 jobs to women who want to wear the crossed-cannon insignia, Military Times reported.
The Tuesday order will allow women to fill 1,900 field artillery officer spots in the Army, and 1,700 in the Guard and Reserve, the newspaper said — and applies to cannon battalions down to platoon level. It excludes, however, positions in special operation units or ones designated "male only," the newspaper added.
There are just 112 women in the small but growing field artillery officer corps, including 104 in the Army, three in the Guard and five in the Reserve, the newspaper reported.
The new policy is the latest in the Army's effort to dismantle policies that have barred women from serving in many combat units, and to open most jobs to women within the next year.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ended the ground combat exclusion policy
in January 2013 before he left the Pentagon — and gave the military until 2016 to fully integrate women in the service.
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