WASHINGTON (Jan. 24, 2013) -- Joint statement on behalf of the Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, and the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno."We welcome the decision to eliminate the Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule. Throughout over a decade of war, the leadership, contributions and sacrifice of women Soldiers have been absolutely invaluable to the Army's success. The Army has led the effort to eliminate gender-based barriers to service, such as our implementation of the exception to policy allowing women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at battalion level. We will continue to proactively support and implement changes to personnel policies in an integrated and phased approach.""Over the next few months, we will continue to analyze gender neutral standards and open additional occupational specialties to women in a deliberate way that preserves unit readiness, cohesion, and morale. Fundamentally, this is about managing talent and posturing the Army and individual Soldiers for success."