WASHINGTON (AP) – A military advisory commission is recommending that the Pentagon do away with long-standing policies that ban women from serving in combat units.

Defense Department policy now prohibits women from being assigned to any unit smaller than a brigade whose primary mission is direct combat on the ground.

In reality though, thousands of women have been involved in the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan because they are allowed to serve in combat support roles, such as medic, logistics truck drivers and so on.

A special panel was set up by Congress two years ago to look at diversity issues and is meeting Friday to polish its final draft report. That report says there should be “a level playing field for all qualified service members” when it comes to military assignments.

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