In a draft reported by CNN, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission said the armed forces must create a "level playing field for all qualified service members."
The panel of senior officers, businessmen and academics will later send a final report to Congress and the president.
The draft said current "combat exclusion policies" do not reflect the realities of contemporary warfare and keep women out of key assignments that lead to career advancement.
"Service policies that bar women from gaining entry to certain combat-related … assignments are based on standards of conventional warfare, with well-defined, linear battlefields," the report said. "However, the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been anything but conventional."
More than 200,000 U.S. women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 132 have been killed and 721 wounded.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in November, "In a war where there is no longer a clear delineation between the front lines ... and the sidelines ... this will be the first generation of veterans where large segments of women returning will have been exposed to some form of combat."
American Cold War Veterans
---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996