America’s top military commander proposes putting women on submarines
second time in less than a week, I am forced to say that America seems to be approaching British levels of decadence. Except that even the British military doesn’t do what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “Mike” Mullen is proposing
. (By the way, whenever a man in a position of authority uses his nickname as his official name, he’s almost invariably a liberal.)
Navy Seeks to Allow Women to Serve on Submarines
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By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The nation’s top military officer has called for lifting the ban on women serving aboard submarines, in a significant step toward reducing the barriers to women in combat.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he seeks the change to broaden opportunities for women in the military. “One policy I would like to see changed is the one barring their service aboard submarines,” Mullen wrote in answers to questions from Congress before his Senate reconfirmation hearing last week.
Lifting the ban would allow women for the first time to serve as officers and enlisted personnel aboard the strategic fleet of fast-attack and other submarines where sailors live and work in cramped quarters at sea for six months at a time. After combat- exclusion rules were lifted in the early 1990s, women in the Navy were allowed to serve on surface combat ships and in combat aircraft, but the ban on their employment in submarines remained.
The Navy has for years been exploring how best to bring women into its submarine force. In a statement this week, Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, said he is “very comfortable addressing integrating women” into the force, but added, “There are some particular issues … we must work through.”
One issue, he said, is living space. Packed with specialized gear, spare parts, and food and other supplies to operate independently for three months, a submarine is extremely cramped. On fast-attack submarines, approximately 150 personnel live in space the size of a three-bedroom house. Officers sleep in three-person staterooms, each the size of a small closet, and all 15 of them share a single shower, sink and toilet.
For female officers to live on the submarines, some three-person berths would be reserved for them and they would share the bathroom—known as a “head”—with men in a time-sharing arrangement. The submarines would have to be modified to provide adequate privacy for enlisted women and men, senior officers said.
Of greater concern, officers said, is the rate of retention for women in the Navy—about 15 percent, compared with more than 30 percent for men—and the possibility that the integration of women could lead to gaps in the relatively small submarine force. Women often leave in their late 20s to start families, although to improve retention the Navy in 2007 lengthened to one year the period that female sailors can remain ashore after childbirth.
About 3,600 officers and 16,000 enlisted men make up the submarine force, compared with 8,000 officers and 63,000 enlisted on the surface fleet.
Once the ban is lifted, it would take a few years to integrate women successfully, both by training female Navy officers and enlisted personnel at all levels to move into the force and by designing a program to ensure a steady flow of women into jobs, the officials said. Integration would start with a small pilot program, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
One reason the Navy seeks to integrate women on submarines is that they make up a growing percentage of college graduates, including engineers. “There is a vast pool of talent that we are neglecting in our recruiting efforts,” a senior official said.
Of the 42 countries that operate submarines, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Canada and Australia allow women to serve on them, although those countries’ diesel submarines go to sea for shorter periods than the nuclear submarines operated by the U.S. Navy.
Karl D. writes:
Sure, why not? Next we could have tight fitting fashionable outfits for the gay submariners, separate more feminine bunks with pink linen for the ladies, and put up a disco ball for a fabulous party under the sea when the grind gets too much. Whoops, I almost forgot the Halal meals for our Muslim brothers and Burka covered sisters. God help us.
James P. writes:
As with all such initiatives, the driving force behind this proposal comes from a very small number of careerist female officers who want promotion opportunities (the ultimate goal is to command a submarine in order to become an Admiral). I highly doubt that female enlistees will sign up for submarine duty, since it is extremely onerous. Thus, a very small number of women are driving a very large change in the nature of the submarine service, in duty aboard submarines, and in the layout of submarines themselves (special quarters and bathrooms for women). Needless to say, when you have over 100 men confined in a steel tube for six months, introducing a handful of women is going to create tension, but the women who are after this couldn’t care less. [LA replies: could JCS Chairman “Mike” Mullen care less?]
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 28, 2009 11:40 AM | Send
The article says,
“For female officers to live on the submarines, some three-person berths would be reserved for them and they would share the bathroom—known as a “head”—with men in a time-sharing arrangement. The submarines would have to be modified to provide adequate privacy for enlisted women and men, senior officers said.”
They should make NO SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR WOMEN whatsoever. That should be the deal! Nobody has privacy on a submarine, not even the officers, why should the women have any privacy?
“Of greater concern, officers said, is the rate of retention for women in the Navy”
The sole concern should be the combat effectiveness of the Navy. Do women contribute to the combat effectiveness of submarines? No. Therefore they have no business aboard.
“One reason the Navy seeks to integrate women on submarines is that they make up a growing percentage of college graduates, including engineers.”
Heaven forbid we just recruit and train more men for a job for which they’re much better suited!
“Of the 42 countries that operate submarines, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Canada and Australia allow women to serve on them,”
What these countries have in common is that they’re not serious about war. We have just joined their ranks… yaay!