The Pentagon is planning to open the ranks of the Navy SEALs, the Army’s elite Ranger units and other specialized combat outfits to female soldiers for the first time, according to reports.
The first opportunity female soliders will have to join the military’s elite combat units will be with the Navy, according to Pentagon plans outlining the transition, obtained by the Associated Press on Monday.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel could officially announce plans to expand access to those units as soon as Tuesday, according to the AP.
Hagel’s pending announcement builds upon former Pentagon chief Leon Panetta’s decision in January to end the military’s long standing ban on women in combat.
The time lines set by the Department of Defense (DOD) to open Ranger and SEAL units up to female soldiers and sailors are still being reviewed by senior military leaders.
Navy officials will open up the service’s Riverine Forces to eligible female candidates, beginning next month, the Pentagon plan states.