RICHMOND, Va. – Two women in the Army Reserve have sued the U.S. Department of Defense and the Army in a bid to reverse military policies banning women from serving in combat roles.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accuses the government of violating the constitutional rights of servicewomen by excluding them from certain ground combat units and other positions solely on the basis of their gender. It seeks to require the military to make all assignments and training decisions without regard to a service member’s gender.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, names Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick and Assistant Army Secretary Thomas Lamont. It is the first lawsuit to challenge the combat ban, according to University of Virginia Law School professor Anne Coughlin, who led an effort to look into the policies.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jane Baldwin and Col. Ellen Haring allege the policies have hindered their career advancement.