(CNSNews.com) – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it was “unacceptable” for the Defense Department to leak news about lifting the ban on women serving in direct combat positions prior to briefing Congress.
News reports on Wednesday citing “senior defense officials” said that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was lifting the ban, put in place in 1994. Specific details were not provided but it was reported that Panetta would make an official announcement on Thursday.
“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.”
“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,’” said Inhofe.
Numerous inquiries to the Pentagon for clarification on the issue were not answered before this story was posted.