Brian Birdnow

This past Monday, (July 25th) in these same pages, the estimable Lurita Doan outlined the Obama Administration’s intention to reduce defense expenditures by nearly one trillion dollars, as the President comes to realize the financial catastrophe he has created, however belatedly. A trillion dollar defense reduction would entail the scrapping of the Navy’s next generation of nuclear powered aircraft carriers and the effective cancellation of the US Space program, among other indignities. Miss Doan rightly concludes that this plan amounts to the Obama Administration “…gutting the military.” Miss Doan is quite correct, but she overlooks the damage the military does to itself by embracing every politically correct folly that comes ambling down the pike.

In news reports last week, the US Navy announced, with appropriate fanfare, that they will soon break one of the last remaining gender barriers in the American military establishment. They are training a cadre of 24 female officers for duty on combat submarines. Yes, the sea service has surrendered to the endless surge of politically correct propaganda, and will now place female officers (with enlisted personnel surely soon to follow) on combat subs, heedless of the damage to unit discipline and cohesion caused by this radical break with tradition. The truth that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link is being ignored in the headlong rush to placate the feminists and embrace this latest politically correct foolishness.

Despite the common sense opposition of many traditionalists like veterans groups, the Navy League, some active duty personnel, and Navy-Wives groups, the Navy will go ahead with the plans, which are already well advanced. The initial class of 24 women will be dispersed among four submarines, where they will be outnumbered by men, at a 25-1 ratio. The females will begin reporting to their assigned submarines in late November and early December.

Will the subs be ready to receive their new officers? That may be the material point, now in question. Even the largest submarines sport corridors barely wide enough for two sailors to pass through without contact. The Navy will deposit six women into the cramped quarters of each submarine, berth the women in a single stateroom, and will divide the work shifts, so that women will be assigned to each of the sub’s two rotating crews. The Navy’s official spokespeople have remained closemouthed, understandably, about bathroom and shower arrangements for the ladies.

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.