Currently, women in the United States Marines aren't assigned to roles where they're likely to engage in direct combat. However, that could soon change.
Marine General James Amos issued an ALMAR (a memo that goes out to all Marines) this week, detailing the ways he would "review" opportunities for women to serve in Ground Combat.
Here are some highlights from the memo:
"Current ground assignment policies restrict the assignment of women serving in an Open Primary Mos (PMOS) to certain units in the Ground Combat Element (GCE). The exception to policy will allow us to begin assigning [female officers to these units.]"
"The Secretary of Defense provided further guidance in February 2012 to the services to assess the impact of newly opened positions in previously closed units and to continue evaluating additional positions that may be opened to our female Marines across the Corps."
"I will consider the results and impact of the exception to the ground assignment policy, the quantitative research, and the total force survey as we make future recommendations regarding the potential assignment of women to ground combat element units."
Though women will be working with combat units, they'll be serving in support roles like communications and logistics for the time being. Given the U.S. military's slow speed when it comes to progress – let's not forget you couldn't be serve and openly gay until last year – we probably shouldn't expect women to be on the Marines' front lines any time soon. That said, it's a step in the right direction.