In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, Command Sgt. Maj. Jane Baldwin and Col. Ellen Harding argue the combat ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, The Hill reported. The Defense Department, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Secretary John McHugh were among the defendants named in their complaint.
In recent decades, career paths have been opened to women in the military, who can now serve on Navy warships and fly combat missions as pilots and aircrew. In February, the Defense Department announced that 14,000 new positions would be open to women but they remain banned from combat units below the battalion level and from infantry and special-operations units.