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updated: 1/24/2013 10:13 AM

White House says Obama supports women in combat

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The White House says President Barack Obama supports the Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat.

Press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that Obama favors expanding opportunities for women to serve in the armed forces. Carney also said Obama believes the country should continue to remove "unnecessary gender-based barriers to service."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected later Thursday to announce his decision to open more than 230,000 battlefront posts to women.

It will be up to the military service chiefs to recommend whether women should be excluded from any of those more demanding and deadly positions, such as Navy SEALs or the Army's Delta Force.

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