Female soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, train on a firing range Sept, 18, 2012, while testing new body armor at Fort Campbell, Ky., in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan.

AP/Mark Humphrey

The Defense Department released today the Army's plans for integrating women into combat roles.

On Jan. 24, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, removed the ban on women in combat, giving the military until Jan. 1, 2016 to fully implement plans.

The Army's plan includes four lines of effort: to open positions previously restricted to women, to validate gender-neutral occupational standards, to conduct gender integration studies, and to coordinate with the U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command and sister services to develop a plan to integrate women into special operations and long range reconnaissance.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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