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New policy allowing women in combat
02:51 - Source: CNN

More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, including 69 generals and admirals. A quick look at women in the military, according to Pentagon figures:

Total numbers:

– About 203,000 in 2011, or 14.5% of the active-duty force of nearly 1.4 million.

– That number comprises about 74,000 in the Army, 53,000 in the Navy, 62,000 in the Air Force and 14,000 in the Marine Corps.

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– Nearly 167,000 women were in the enlisted ranks, making up 14.2% of that force.

– There were 36,000 women in the officer corps, or 16.6%.

– Among the top ranks, 69 of the 976 generals and admirals – 7.1% – were women. There were 28 female generals in the Air Force, 19 in the Army, one in the Marine Corps and 21 female admirals in the Navy.

– Of the 3,698 new female officers in 2011, 579 were graduates of the nation’s service academies.

– In addition, 18% of the 722,000 enlisted reservists and National Guard troops and 19% of their 113,000 officers are women.

– In the Coast Guard, now a division of the Department of Homeland Security, women made up 10.5% of the total force of 44,000 active-duty and reserve personnel.

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Front-line duties:

– Enlisted women made up 2.7% of the military’s front-line units. Women were barred from the infantry, but were allowed to serve on gun crews, air crews and in seamanship specialties. Among officers, women represented 5.4% of those involved in “tactical operations.”

– Despite the official ban on combat, women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan often found themselves engaged in firefights. Women made up 67 of the nearly 3,500 Americans lost in hostile fire in Iraq and 33 of the 1,700-plus killed in combat in Afghanistan; more than 600 others in Iraq and 300 in Afghanistan were wounded.


– Among the enlisted ranks, women were most represented in the medical (30.5%) and administrative (30.1%) specialties. They made up about 17% of supply units, 14% of communications staff and 10% of electronics technicians.

– Health care was the top field for female officers, at 39%. They made up nearly 28% of administrative officers, 19% of intelligence officers and 18% of supply officers.

– In the Navy, 46% of all female officers were in the medical field.

CNN’s Matt Smith and Emily Smith contributed to this report.