The Washington Post reports that according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 7 in 10 Americans support permitting women in the military to serve in ground units that engage in close combat. The poll findings include: Seventy-three percent “of respondents support giving women direct combat roles and 25 percent oppose the move. Seventy-three percent of women and 72 percent of men favor extending formal combat roles to women, as do 80 percent of self-described Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents.”
The Pentagon has barred women from serving in any unit below the brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat. Women can serve in units that might face combat-related action. Last week, a commission mandated by Congress recommended that the Pentagon end the ban in order “to create a level playing field for all qualified service members.” Congress chartered the Military Leadership Diversity Commission as part of the annual defense authorization bill in 2009. The report issued 20 recommendations designed to prepare a higher percentage of women and minorities to serve in top military leadership positions.