Navy Seeks to Allow Women to Serve on Submarines
Let women work on subs, Navy secretary says - USATODAY.com
I was a little slow to pick up on this, but apparently ADM Mullen's Congressional testimony this week included a written question on women in combat. (He's been confirmed to a second CJCS tour.) He chose to focus on women in submarines and his comments were later backed up by SECNAV.
"I believe women should have every opportunity to serve at sea, and that includes aboard submarines," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Thursday in a statement to Navy Times.
Unsurprisingly, the CNO has allowed that he can probably figure out how to make it happen.
I've been listening to (male) submarine flag officers munch shoe leather on this issue for decades. Logic has been "We can't expose ova to ionizing radiation the way we allow it to happen to sperm", "we can't handle MEDEVACs for ectopic pregnancies", even "our submarine sanitary tanks and atmosphere control systems can't handle female products" to the ridiculous "the wives would never allow it".
OHIO-class submarines were built with nine-
person berthing spaces, and several of those submarines are being converted from SSBNs to SSGNs. Putting women on those crews could happen literally in a few months. Attack submarines are a little more berthing-challenged, as noted in the linked articles, but IMO that's just testosterone-poisoned sniveling. Older LOS ANGELES-class submarines also include one nine-man berthing space as well as several ways to modify existing berthing with little or no delays. I haven't seen a VIRGINIA-class sub yet but I bet it can be done.
This is going to be at least as controversial and ugly as admitting women to service academies 30+ years ago, to say nothing of the incidents from joining combat aircraft & ships, but it'll get done. And this is one of those situations where the aviation & surface brethren will have no sympathy for the nukes. The community has been castigated for years as the military's last bastion of white male dinosaurs, and now that's going to change.
The submarine force's survival depends on it.
On a personal note, I have to admit that I'm darn glad I never had to compete with my spouse for promotions. (But co-location would have been a lot easier to arrange!) As I was finishing this post, my spouse wandered into the room and I showed her the first article. Her reaction, uttered after I'd titled this post, was also "It's about freakin' time."
Our daughter still sees "no reason to spend all her time underwater in a metal tube". But she's happy to have a choice!