Submarines: May 6, 2000


The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), long the primary proponent of putting women into combat jobs, has recommended that women officers be added to the crews of U.S. submarines. Earlier suggestions that all positions on subs be open to women were defeated when the navy pointed out that there was not enough room on subs to provide female sailors with the privacy even DACOWITS agrees is necessary for women at sea. Since officers have roomier accommodations in subs, this would be less of a problem for female submarine officers. DACOWITS also suggested that new Virginia class subs under construction be modified to handle mixed crews. The navy pointed out that this would increase the cost of the subs $4 million dollars each (a very small increase in the cost of the boats) and would reduce combat capabilities. DACOWITS have never considered combat capability it's highest priority and is confident that the next Chief of Naval Operations will be selected from among those admirals whose thinking is more in line with DACOWITS. 


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