The Army has taken significant strides in recent months to open up an increasing number of combat roles to female soldiers, and thanks to a new initiative that figure could grow. The program, known as Soldier 2020, aims to have the best soldiers possible in the branch by 2020, regardless of gender, according to Army News Service.

At the heart of Soldier 2020 is a re-examining of the physical standards currently in place and taking a more gender neutral approach to them. The hope is that by 2015, Army leadership will receive recommendations on what combat positions can be opened up to women. Col. Linda Sheimo, chief of the Command Programs and Policy Division at the Directorate of Military Personnel Management, said the changes will not be too drastic.

"We're not lowering standards," Sheimo told the news source. "We are ensuring that every soldier knows what the standard is. The reality is that you will have some cases where men will not be able to meet that minimum requirement, they just won't have the physical capability, and there might be some women that do."

Any move to make it easier for women to serve in the Armed Forces would be a significant step forward, especially given the important role they played in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to, an estimated 280,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.