Molly Pitcher via George Washington Bicentennial Commission at flickr.com

It says something about our times that a policy shift like this is announced and it is treated as a big story, but not an earth-shaking pronouncement.

The U.S. military is ending its policy of excluding women from combat and will open combat jobs and direct combat units to female troops, CNN has learned. Multiple officials confirm to CNN that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the announcement tomorrow and notify Congress of the planned change in policy.

It may be, in part, in that the policy of not allowing direct combat positions to female troops has proved impossible to enforce.

Not that there doesn’t remain a hell of a lot to do:

The Air Force recorded an “appalling” number of reports of sexual assault last year even as it worked to curb misconduct in the wake of a sex scandal at its training headquarters in Texas, the service’s top officer told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, said there were 796 reports of cases ranging from inappropriate touching to rape. The 2012 figure is a nearly 30 percent increase from 2011 when 614 cases were reported. The number could be much greater, Welsh said, because many cases are never reported at all.

“Calling these numbers unacceptable does not do the victims justice,” Welsh said. “The truth is, these numbers are appalling!

Bringing to mind whether this is a coincidence or a correlation.