It has been announced that all combat roles in the US Army are to be opened to women.
It means females will be eligible for around 220 thousand positions.
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter says the historic move means they will be able to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat.
“To succeed in our mission, our national defence, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half of the country’s talents and skills. We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards.” Mr Carter told reporters at a briefing.
Making the case for exemption
The ban was initially lifted in 2013, but the US Marine Corps was given until 2016 to make the case for specific roles it believed should be exempt.
Commentators see Carter’s decision as a rejection of that argument.
The armed services in the United States now have 30 days to submit their plans for adapting to welcoming women fully into their ranks.
Making news around the world
News of the decision is being widely reported.