U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), incoming Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today responded to the leaked news that the Department of Defense will lift the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military:
"It is unacceptable that information on the Defense Department's plans related to women in combat was leaked prior to Congress being briefed," said Inhofe. "As a result we don't yet know the details of this announcement. Based on my conversation today with Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, I believe that Secretary Panetta will provide specific direction to the services on how to evaluate and identify opportunities for women to further serve their country."
Sen. Inhofe was skeptical that the move would broadly thrust women into new combat roles:
"I do not believe this will be a broad opening of combat roles for women, because as the 2012 report indicated, there are 'serious practical barriers which must be resolved so that the department can maximize the safety and privacy of all military members while maintaining military readiness.'