Defense Secretary Ash Carter will order the military to open all combat jobs to women, giving the armed services 30 days to submit plans to make the historic change.

Carter said in a statement Thursday the military will make "no exceptions" to allowing qualified women to serve in any position, saying the United States "cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country's talent and skills."

Right now, about 10% of military jobs cannot be held by women, including some infantry, reconnaissance, and special operations posts.

Carter also addressed arguments from the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman that the Marine Corps should be allowed to exclude women from certain front-line jobs, referring to studies showing all-male units are more capable than mixed-sex units.

"I believe that we could, in implementation, address the issues that were raised," said Carter.

All services will have to begin executing their plans by April 1, the Associated Press learned from a senior defense official.