A Republican congressman from Eastern Carolina says he is opposed to putting women in military combat.
Congressman Walter Jones of Farmville says President Barack Obama should be focused on maintaining "our military as the best fighting force in the world, not using it to advance his social agenda".
Jones, who represents North Carolina's third district, is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. "Having had the privilege of representing one of the largest military districts in the country for many years, I have spoken with numerous Marine officers about this topic. They have all voiced their concern. These are men who have been on the front lines and know the horrors of war. When they have reservations, I listen," said Jones.
In announcing his decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he believes women have become an integral part of the military's ability to succeed.
Panetta made his announcement with the Joint Chiefs chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, at a Pentagon news conference.
Panetta said that not everyone can meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier. But, he said, everyone is entitled to the chance.
He said the qualifications will not be reduced, and with women playing a broader role, the military will be strengthened.