NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Defense leaders strike at the glass ceiling, making it possible for women to join their male compatriots on the front lines. That means women can compete for more than 230,000 combat posts, which used to be off limits to them.
"I think it's the right thing to do. The women have proven their enormous contributions they've made in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Senator John McCain, (R) Arizona.
Top defense leaders rally behind the historic military milestone, but not all agree it's a safe choice, including a former Navy service member.
"While I was able to keep up in PT, on the battlefield, I was not able to have the stamina that a man would," said Laurie Lee.
Laurie Lee was the only woman in her detachment. Before going on missions, she remembers her male counterparts would have to decide if she could handle the task or not.
She said having women join the men in those fierce moments could compromise the integrity of the mission.
"A man has his vision split then. He must decide do I defend this woman who is defending with me or do I fight against the enemy before me," Lee said.
She said women could make strides in other roles.
"The strongest woman will never be as strong as the strongest man in the world," Lee said.