Defense officials are asking Washington lawmakers to help boost the ranks of women in the military by allowing more females to serve in jobs closer to the front lines.
According to The Associated Press, the Pentagon wants new rules that will still exclude women from serving as infantry, special operations forces and armor, but will allow them to work at other positions at the battalion level. If approved, the new rules are expected to have the greatest effect on the Army and Marines, which until now have banned women from front line jobs.
The move comes nearly a year after a Military Leadership Diversity Commission said the Pentagon should phase in additional career options for women as long as they were qualified.
Meanwhile, top Republican lawmakers want to make sure that the military is spared significant spending cuts by slashing up to 100,000 civilian government jobs, Reuters reports.
The bill, introduced by Senator John McCain, would save the government approximately $127 billion dollars through attrition and a salary freeze on federal workers through 2014.
Republican Representative and chair of the Armed Services Committee Howard McKeon has also introduced a measure seeking to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent.