WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A new decision out of Washington may mean more opportunities for women in the military. Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat.
This decision overturns a rule established in 1994 that banned women from artillery, armor, infantry, and other combat roles. Some people say changing the role of women may cause some unforeseen problems.
"When women get on the front lines, if they get captured with the kind of enemies we face in this day and age, problems may come up. I think rape, sexual abuse, torture, things like that would be employed by these enemies," veteran Tom Atkins said.
Others say it is not necessarily allowing women to fight on the front-line in combat situations that's the problem. They say modern technology allows for war to be more far reaching than it has been in the past.
"Today, I think you have to ask yourself 'what is the front-line?'" American Legion Post 10 Commander David Harley said. "Does that mean a confrontation directly on the front-line with the enemy or are we talking about hundreds of miles back where rockets and missiles are capable of hitting?"
By lifting the ban, more positions become available to women in the military. Most people agree that women are more than capable of performing under pressure if trained properly.
Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.