CLEVELAND, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Integration of the sexes in the U.S. Armed Forces took a giant leap as U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced both the Navy and the Marine Corps will now allow women to hold any job they offer.
The move comes after a series of measures by top U.S. military officials to study how such integration could be possible. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for a reviews of integration obstacles by October 1.
One study conducted by the Marine Corps compared combat units with female members to combat units with all-male teams, and claimed units with female members suffered more injuries, and under-performed in speed and accuracy.
Secretary Mabus criticized the the study a few days prior to the announcement, saying proper leadership and training could close any gap indicated in the study, and maintains there will be no exceptions for either branch.
"I'm not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines," Secretary Mabus said, speaking at the City Club in Cleveland, "and it's not going to make them any less fighting effective. In fact I think they will be a stronger force because a more diverse force is a stronger force."
Secretary Mabus added that jobs in the Navy and the Marine Corps should be open only to individuals who qualify. The announcement came over three months ahead of the Pentagon's scheduled deadline for exemption requests allowing the services to bar women from holding particular jobs. Without any exemptions, the military is set to open 200,000 positions currently closed to women.