Republicans on a U.S. House of Representatives committee retreated from a sweeping ban on women in &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2001/03/20/3071.html ' target=_blank>combat support and service units, and instead put into law the Pentagon's policy barring women from direct ground combat operations in a bill passed early on Thursday.
The House Armed Services Committee approved the narrower provision after Democrats, along with the Army, said the amendment rammed through a subcommittee last week would close nearly 22,000 jobs to women, undermine morale, and hamper operations in Iraq and &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/01/05/41643.html ' target=_blank>Afghanistan, tells Reuters.
It also allows the Pentagon to further exclude women from units in other instances, while requiring defense officials to notify Congress when opening up positions to women. The amendment replaced narrower language in the bill that applied only to the Army and banned women from some combat support positions.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps currently operate under a 10-year-old policy barring women from "direct combat on the ground" but allowing the services discretion to open some jobs to women.
"We're not taking away a single prerogative that the services now have," McHugh said.