The US Department of Defense (DoD) has opened all US military combat positions for women.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said: "They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat.

"They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men."

"They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat."

According to a statement released by the DoD, women would be integrated into new roles in a ‘deliberate and methodical manner’ as positions come open, following a 30-day review period.

Carter said that the waiting period will allow the congress to review the decision and raise any objections.

The decision overrules a request by the US Marine Corps, which sought to keep positions such as infantry, machine gunner, fire support, and reconnaissance open to men only.

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Carter added: "Fully integrating women into all military positions will make the US armed forces better and stronger but there will be problems to fix and challenges to overcome. We shouldn’t diminish that."

The decision will open up nearly 220,000 positions for women in infantry, reconnaissance, and special operations units.

Image: Defense Secretary Ash Carter announces the landmark decision. Photo: courtesy of Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/ DoD