Women in the military have been—by tradition, by law, policy or regulation—excluded from various duties.
One of the last remaining exclusions is women serving in “front-line combat jobs.” But, even here, according to the Navy Times, “combat roles have become blurred during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in which irregular warfare marked by insurgent roadside bombs and a lack of the frontlines evident in traditional warfare have brought women assigned to jobs as corpsmen, military police and other ‘combat enabler’ jobs into harm’s way, much as their combat brethren.”
How about women serving on submarines?
Again, the Navy Times:
But while women have been assigned to surface warships since 1993, they remain banned from submarine crews, naval special warfare teams and conventional riverine boat crews. Female officers and sailors can get qualified to work on nuclear reactors but are restricted to serving on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, not on any of the Navy’s 71 nuclear-powered submarines.
Well, this may be about to change, too.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Thursday in a statement to the Navy Times, ““I believe women should have every opportunity to serve at sea, and that includes aboard submarines.”.
According to the Navy Times, his comment comes one week after Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told congressional lawmakers that he thought it was time to end the ban against women on submarines.
Mullen’s successor, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, also said he is “very comfortable” addressing the crewing policy.
The Navy has 7,900 female officers and 44,000 female sailors, making up about 15 percent of officers and sailors in that active component.
How about the exceptionally close quarters and extended duration of submerged duty aboard submarines, etc., etc.?
Admiral Mullen and others think those issues can be resolved.
What do you think?
Image: Courtesy awesomestory.com
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.