Military leaders say they want to make sure lifting gender-based barriers would not disrupt the cohesion of the smaller combat ground units and military operations. The Marine Corps' top leader, Gen. James Amos, ordered a survey of 53,000 troops to get their views, including whether they believe women in those units would distract male Marines from doing their jobs. The results have not been released yet.
HOW CLOSE DO WOMEN GET TO THE FRONT LINES?
The blurred front lines of modern warfare, with suicide bombs and sniper attacks, have put more and more women in combat situations. More than 144 female troops have been killed and more than 860 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since the wars began according to Pentagon statistics.