Almost exactly five months ago I wrote:
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.
I asked, “How about women serving on submarines?”
Today, many news sources are reporting that the answer will be “Yes.” That “Women are a big step closer to serving on U.S. Navy submarines.” According to ABC News and others, the Navy has decided to lift the ban on female submarine crew members.
The only potential roadblock remaining is for both house of Congress to pass legislation specifically barring the policy change during the 30 working day window for congressional comment that began Monday.
A Defense Department official tells ABC News that the civilian Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, support lifting the ban. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a letter last Friday notifying Congress of the Navy’s policy change. The 30-day window for congressional comment began when Gates’ letter was delivered to Capitol Hill.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.