Pentagon to Allow Women on Submarines

The Pentagon has announced its OK to lift the ban on women serving on submarines.

Women account for about 15 percent of the more than 336,000 members of the U.S. Navy and can serve on its surface ships. But critics have argued that submarines are different, pointing to cramped quarters where some crews share beds in shifts — a practice known as “hot bunking.”

A likely scenario would see female officers becoming the first to join crews on the Navy’s fleet of 71 submarines, since officers have separate accommodations, a U.S. defense official said.

I can see some sensible objections to this. Submariners are under a higher amoung of stress than other naval officers, and the quarters are very cramped. I’ve heard one argument for all female submarine crews as a way for women to serve on submarines. The option to allow female officers doesn’t seem problematic, but also doesn’t allow for enlisted women. I’m not sure on how exactly submarine bunks are set up in relationship to the rest of the boat, but I wonder if a small section might be set aside for women only as a solution to the hotbunking problem?

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