Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Secretary of Navy Interview: Women on Submarines? Soon.

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Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy did an interview on the Daily Show last night. One of the topics addressed was that of women serving on submarines.

Some of you may have been following the long debate about this issue going on over at Bubblehead's blog. Some people are in favor of women serving aboard subs, some are opposed, and some other people probably don't really care and just want to go to the rack when they get off watch.

From what SecNav said during the interview, it doesn't seem that there is any debate going on. When Jon Stewart made the statement that women aren't allowed to serve in submarines, Ray Mabus replied "That's right. They will soon." The part where he talks about women serving aboard submarines starts just a little over two minutes into the interview.

He also said, innacurately, that there would be a delay because all people that serve on submarines are nuclear-trained. For the non-submariners out there, not all sailors that serve on subs go through nuclear power training. All the officers, with the exception of the supply officer are nuclear trained. The enlisted nuclear power plant operators are also nuclear trained. The other enlisted sailors go through submarine school.

I suspect that the Secretary of the Navy has a general idea of what sort of training that submarine sailors go through before they hit the waterfront. I guess this may be a clue that the first United State female submarine sailors will be officers, most of which are nuclear trained. No surprise if that is the case.

One of the people that left a comment on Bubblehead's blog had a link to a news article that said the first women may hit the submarine fleet in 2010 or 2011. The writing is on the wall and change is coming whether the men currently serving on subs want it or not.

At the shipyard, I have been working with the nukes from an aircraft carrier. Some of them are women. Seems like they can do the job that they are doing. Doesn't seem to be any obvious friction or inappropriate behavior between the men and women on the crew. The men and women both appear to be professional adults doing a difficult job. No surprise there, either.

When we begin to integrate women into submarine crews, it will probably result in a few rough patches on the road. We may lose some people. It will be their own fault, but they will blame the fact that we are allowing women to serve on submarines. Some people will have no difficulty aside from having a longer line at the shower. Some people won't care at all.

Most of the people who think it is a stupid idea can probably think of several other policies that have been implimented at their command that they thought were stupid ideas. They learned to adapt to the stupid policy and move on. This will be the same.