“Following the successful integration of female officers onboard submarines, the Submarine Force will be immediately opening service on submarines for enlisted female Sailors,” the Navy said on Wednesday.
In 1994 the US Congress changed policy to allow more women to participate in various branches of the Navy, but it wasn't until 2010 that the secretary of defense told lawmakers of the Navy’s intent to allow women in the submarine force. The plan began first with officers and the Navy’s plan to enroll enlisted women in the submarine force was approved and funded last month.
Vice Admiral Michael Connor, commander of submarine forces, said the decision would allow women with technical and leadership skills to contribute to the submarine force.
“Integrating female officers into the submarine force has increased our talent pool and subsequently the force's overall readiness, ensuring that we will remain the world's most capable force for ensuing decades,” Connor said. “Following our successful and smooth integration of women officers into the Submarine Force, the Navy's plan to integrate female enlisted is a natural next step."
The Navy’s plan to integrate women into the submarine force will be implemented in two phases and is scheduled to be completed by 2021, the Navy said. All newly enlisted women, as well as current enlisted women wanting to join the submarine force will be required to go through training specific to service in submarines.