Aside from Adm. Mike Mullen, another Navy bigwig is a staunch supporter of allowing women to serve in submarines is Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. According to a feature on the Navy website, Mabus had been lobbying for changes to the Navy policy since he took office in May of last year.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has notified Congress of the Navy’s intention to change its policy regarding allowing women to serve on submarines, and the first crop of female submariners may come from the pool of female graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Mabus gave the following statement: “We think we learned a lot about integrating women in the services years ago, and those lessons are relevant today,” with the feature adding that Mabus said further that this included “having a ‘critical mass’ of female candidates, having senior women to serve as mentors and having submarines that don’t require modifications: the SSBN ballistic missile and SSGN guided-missile subs.”
Mabus concluded by saying that the Navy has a “lesson learned to make sure any questions are answered… and we’re very open and transparent on how we’ll do this. We think this is a great idea that will enhance our war-fighting capabilities.”
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead also supported the changes and told the Senate committee on February 25 that the Navy has a “great plan” in terms of how integration will be done and that it was ready to welcome female Sailors on board subs by the end of 2011. He further told the committee that allowing women on subs will “leverage the tremendous talent and potential of our female officers and enlisted personnel.”