National Security Brief: Polls Show Americans Back Women In Combat

Sixty-six percent of respondents in a new poll said that they support allowing women serve in combat, according to a new survey released on Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & Press and the Washington Post. That number squares with results from a recent Gallup poll, which found that 74 percent of respondents would vote for a law that allows women to serve in combat rolls. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced earlier this month his decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat.

In other news:

  • Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) tried to calm Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) after the South Carolina Republican threatened to hold Chuck Hagel’s nomination unless Panetta testifies before the Senate on Benghazi. “We plan on having a [Benghazi] hearing [with Panetta] long before” Hagel’s confirmation vote, Levin said.
  • Top allied commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen recommended to President Obama that the U.S. keep a substantial number of troops in the country through this summer’s fighting season but said that the Afghan Security Forces would be ready to take the lead when NATO-led forces pull back this spring.
  • The New York Times reports: French troops took control overnight of the airport at the last major northern Mali town still in rebel hands, officials said on Wednesday, after Islamist militants abandoned two other principal settlements in the vast, desert region where residents’ relief and elation has given way to some measure of reprisal and frustration.