Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

COMSUBGRU TEN Bloggers Roundtable

I'll unfortunately be at work while this is going on, but Rear Admiral Barry Bruner, Commander, Submarine Group TEN, will be holding a "Bloggers Roundtable" at 1430 EDT on Tuesday, 11 May. You can listen in here. RDML Bruner will "take questions and explain the Navy’s plan to integrate women into submarine crews" in his capacity as the lead of the Task Force for Women in Submarines. Should be informative.

Update 0955 14 May: Here's the transcript from the Roundtable.

85 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinda sad when an Admiral has to address bloggers and others on the internet about a big Navy decision.

Whatever happened to issuing orders and people following them?

Tells me there is a lot of pushback and the Sub Force is in damage control mode.

5/11/2010 6:31 AM

 
Anonymous see ya said...

Let me put it this way: if I were on active duty as an 1120, I'd resign over this obvious political nonsense.

Doubt I'm the only person that thinks this way. When idiots are running the asylum, you vote with your feet. It's that simple.

5/11/2010 6:46 AM

 
Blogger FineNavyGray said...

Anon @ 0631:

That's not sad, it's the way of the future. POTUS picks a new supreme court judge and lets the country know via Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. The powers that be know you have to communicate with the people in the way they will be most affected by if you want to get the word out.

5/11/2010 7:19 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me put it this way: your not on active duty as an 1120, so your commitment to walk is irrelevant. You said "see ya" some time ago.

As for guys actually walking, I've heard nothing but a couple BS comments from disgruntled guys who signaled their desire to leave a long time ago. Its true the decision gave them another thing to bitch about, but they still spend far more time complaining about the other kind of PMS.

-N

5/11/2010 7:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grow up!!! You are supposed to be the cream of the crop and can't get over this? If women can fly and serve in the Marine Corps, they can certainly serve on a T-Hull. Salute, say "yes ma'am" or resign your damn commissions...

5/11/2010 7:59 AM

 
Blogger 630-738 said...

Doesn't seem sad at all. Seems to me like leadership has committed to explaining how the plan will be implemented, rather than just issuing an order and saying "Do it because I said so". There are certainly times when that approach is warranted, this ain't one of those times. Sailors want answers and they deserve them.

As far as walking over this, it's easy to say that after you're already out. I'm pretty sure a lot of folks said the same thing when integration of the services was ordered, and it's seemed to work out just fine. Of course, there will always be a few neanderthals who just can't get past the issue and will likely get out: Good for 'em. The Navy will survive, and eventually settle out to a sense of normalcy, with integrated crews.

5/11/2010 8:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grow up!!! You are supposed to be the cream of the crop and can't get over this? If women can fly and serve in the Marine Corps, they can certainly serve on a T-Hull. Salute, say "yes ma'am" or resign your damn commissions...

Turns out they aren't that good. you might want to research a little how rules are broken and standards massaged to keep women current in carrier quals.

5/11/2010 8:19 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Navy will survive, and eventually settle out to a sense of normalcy, with integrated crews.

Albeit, less combat ready.

5/11/2010 8:20 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

630-738,

When they still call you Master Chief to your face or behind your back at FPL, it is NOT a sign of respect.

Just sayin'.

5/11/2010 8:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon @ 8:19: Some of the male officers ain't that good either--whether flying, black shoe or sub (I refer you to all the discussions of collisions, etc on this very site). And, as long as we're casting dispersions, let's cover all the bases: if you're privy to the numbers, tell us a percentage of women who fail to maintain carrier quals vs. the percentage of men who fail to maintain quals. When the absolute number of women is lower, each washout looms larger.

5/11/2010 8:44 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha, "less combat ready"... It takes a pecker to push a button, don't you know that?

5/11/2010 8:48 AM

 
Anonymous TRF said...

While I was only in for five years, and spent a good bit of that time in the shipyard, I cannot think of anything related to submarine operations that is "inherently male."

The presence of women on submarines will no doubt change the atmosphere on board, but it is difficult to see how that is solely a bad idea. And if they can do the job, let them show that they can do it. Once they have their fish they are part of the team.

5/11/2010 9:04 AM

 
Anonymous see ya said...

The so-called 'argument' that there is something in submarines that is "inherently male" is purely a strawman. I've yet to see anyone who very reasonably believes that this is a(nother) political blunder make that argument.

So this isn't about whether or not women can do the job. Obviously, as intelligent human beings, they can.

This IS about:

(1) whether or not women and men SHOULD be stuffed into a 300' tube for months at at time, and

(2) the likely negative impact on overall retention numbers, and

(3) wasted and highly expensive training that could have been spent more wisely, and

(4) last but not least: integrity. All the specious claims as to why this is being done just serve to undercut the plain fact that this is politically motivated...not need-based, nor oriented toward enhancing combat readiness.

Losing "cred" is not good for the submarine admiralty...but one is always entirely in charge of one's own integrity.

5/11/2010 9:48 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see...who's the lowest ranking flag officer we can heep this pile of shit on...oh, CSG-10. He can do it. Needs to be a flag, but not a very high ranking flag because of the very high probability for, um, stepping on your crank with an issue like this one. They threw him to the lions. Dude's toast.

5/11/2010 10:09 AM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

Part I: @First Anonymous - there is a lot of pushback from the community, and the force should be in DC mode at this time.
@See ya... You are right, it's political nonsense and you are not the only person that feels this way. I have comments from AD folks that will leave over this issue. What a waste of talent and experience. To lose that talent for the sake of allowing a few women into the community? Ridiculous.
@Anon 7:35 No comment from the community is 'irrelevant' as long as your love, concern, and desire for the best submarine force in the world are intact. At that includes everyone that helped make the force what it is today. I don't see myself as any less a part of the community as those that are on AD. Again, many hundreds of folks feel the same way and have the nads to say so. You may have only heard a few 'BS' comments from 'disgruntled' guys, but I've got almost 540 comments, in writing, from folks with valid concerns about the future of our submarine force. I know from talking to many others, that they are afraid to make any written comment, for understandable reasons.
@7:59 - 'Grow Up'! What do you mean? Everyone that is opposed to this idea is 'not' grown up, or is not a professional. What a sweeping and unfounded generalization. There are valid reasons why this issue cannot be compared to the aviation community or the Marines, or any other comparison. Submarines are a very unique environment, whether you choose to believe that or not.
@8:04 Agree with you about leadership explaining the 'plan'. Except that there is not one; at least not a comprehensive one that addresses the full set of issues. If there ever was a plan, it should have been open and transparent from the beginning, as the military leadership has said it was. That was a joke. Many people have been trying to get a copy of the 'plan' for months and their requests were ignored or skirted. What is/was there to hide?
The comparison to integration (I assume you mean racial integration) is not valid for the same reasons the comparisons to other communities, other countries, etc. is not valid. With respect to any differential categorizations between human beings, the difference between male and female is the most significant. Your comment to blanketly disparage those opposed to this policy change as 'Neanderthals' is crude, offensive, and unwarranted.
@9:04 ...nothing in submarines operations as inherently male? The United States has, over 110 years, developed the finest submarine fleet in the world. It was not done exclusively with males, of course, but it was done exclusively with male crews. The culture and lifestyle that developed to allow submarines to endure the unique and difficult submarine environment were developed by males and, in fact, are generally 'male' based.
Having said that, there is some validity to having women man submarine crews... but not in a mixed gender environment. Even then, however, I would worry about health issues unique to females, and physical stature differences, during both normal operations, but especially in DC operations.

5/11/2010 10:13 AM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

Part II: 'The presence of women on submarines will no doubt change the atmosphere on board'. That is an understatement.' It is not difficult to see how this is a bad idea. The vast majority of folks intimately familiar with the submarine environment know this culture change will affect submarine morale, mission readiness, and operations. As for letting the women 'show they can do the job', an operational platform with missions of national importance is not the place to do the 'testing'. There are more appropriate methods to test the issue and impact than on an operational platform. Several of these options have been surfaced and ignored.
*Please*... everyone, stop with the cliché generalizations. Simply read the documents supporting those opposed to the policy change, and talk to those folks. If you haven't, you may have your say of course... this is America. But you show a blatant disregard for the submarine community by not making yourself aware of the true facts concerning this important issue. And that, indeed, is the biggest mistake our military 'leaders' are making at this time. This is solely a politically driven issue that has no basis in military need and will, in fact, hurt readiness within the community, certainly for the foreseeable future and possible well beyond that.
Now, having said what I've said (and have been saying), my mindset has been shifting into an 'Aye Aye' mode, of course. I don't have to worry about 'quitting' being retired. That gives me a unique ability to 'straddle' the many sides of this issue. I do not want these women or the submarine community to fail. I want to find some way to ensure the policy change can occur as successfully as possible. For everyone on one extreme or the other, you are useless at this point. Only by acknowledging the true and valid concerns that threaten the successful implementation of this policy change, can success be ensured. I'm ready to do my part, armed with facts, and information that I believe I am in a unique position to offer. The sad thing is that I don't believe naval leadership cares enough (or is politically unable) to act with this mindset. V/R ETCS

5/11/2010 10:14 AM

 
Blogger 630-738 said...

When they still call you Master Chief to your face or behind your back at FPL, it is NOT a sign of respect.

First off, they don't call me Master Chief, I never was one. Secondly, you obviously know me or at least think you do, and this has nothing at all to do with the issue at hand. Try keeping to the issue at hand at stay out of the backhanded failed personal attack business. It doesn't suit you.

If you'd like to take it off-line, feel free to contact me via email. I notice how you post anonymously, show some cajones and register here sweetheart.

5/11/2010 10:15 AM

 
Anonymous semper gumby said...

Whatever happened to issuing orders and people following them?

Obviously women on submarines is now the policy so everyone is going to salute and make it happen as best they can. How well will it work? Everyone can have an opinion on the subject - some more informed than others - but, at the end of the day, they are just opinions. The real questions are what metrics will be used to assess if the policy change is "successful?" And, if the metrics show that it is not successful, what actions will be taken?

Official statements imply the policy is intended to 1) increase the number of qualified applicants for the submarine force and 2) increase opportunities for females to advance to senior positions in the Navy. (There might be other officially stated reasons for the policy, I admit that I haven't read every statement on the subject.)

Whether these policy goals are achieved is fairly easy to assess empirically. Whether they will be assessed honestly is of course another issue. For example, it would be easy to manipulate data on applicants since midshipmen can be forced/coerced/convinced (pick your term) to "volunteer."

As a taxpayer and career submariner however, I define "success" of this policy a little differently. To me, the policy is successful only if it improves the operational performance of the submarine force (or at least doesn't degrade it). Metrics could include objective measures such as the Class A mishap rate, strategic system performance, operational availability, and retention (higher numbers implying higher quality officers from which to choose). Somewhat more subjective measures such as TRE / POMCERT / ORSE trends could also be used. These are a few examples; there are others.

Will anyone have the integrity to look at them and act on the results? Time will tell.

5/11/2010 10:31 AM

 
Anonymous see ya said...

I do not want these women or the submarine community to fail.

Very well put, ETCS. I believe that all reasonable and honest members of the "loyal opposition" to this hare-brained idea feel precisely the same way.

5/11/2010 10:36 AM

 
Blogger Lyle said...

ETCS,

I have to agree that you have posed a very eloquent discussion of the issue at hand.

ETC(SS)

5/11/2010 10:49 AM

 
Blogger 630-738 said...

ETCS,

Although I still disagree with you, I can recognize a thoughtful, well-stated point when I see one, and yours certainly is that. It is a shame that no tangible plan was presented to the Force, that goes against the grain of everything that the Force is about. I also agree and freely acknowledge this as a political issue more than a force need, but this was eventually going to happen, regardless of need. Only time will tell if mixed gender crews will be a success, but as you stated, most have shifted to figuring out how to make it work to the best of their abilities. Knowing submariners as I do, they will make it work.

Assuming the screening process is utilized properly, I believe the physical differences will not be as important an issue as many have professed; I believe the right women will be able to perform all duties at least as well as their male counterparts. No doubt some will not, and that will have to be addressed, possibly with some attrition. That part I don't envy the force on having to make those decisions, because there will be political backlash.

I still believe the Submarine Force will figure it out and return to a sense of normalcy, and contrary to what another posted earlier, with a good state of readiness. Challenge is a daily ritual on boats, this is nothing more than another challenge.

5/11/2010 10:52 AM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

COMSUBGRU TEN Bloggers Roundtable -My report:
I called in and was placed in the queue at 1425. The roundtable began at 1430. I pressed '1' and was in the queue to ask a question. My intention was to ask the Admiral what he thought about the controversy from within the community. After a short introduction and opening statement, Admiral Bruner opened the floor for questions. The moderator too a number of questions that were asked and answered. After the moderator asked if there was anyone else waiting, I spoke up, pressed '1' again, but with no response or acknowledgement. Some more questions were asked and answered. Again, after a few more questions, the moderator asked if there were any other callers; I tried responding, but no luck. I then called the number again, and entered the queue once more, but again with no response. The blog ended at 1455. It had been scheduled to run 45 minutes. There difficult questions asked of the admiral. I don't believe any questions were asked by anybody in the military. I have some friends that thought I was wasting my time to try and participate, perhaps they were right.

5/11/2010 1:12 PM

 
Anonymous Billy Joel said...

Obviously, the Nav's idea of "PR."

"Yes, it's sad and it's sweet, and I knew it complete..."

- Mr. Joel

5/11/2010 2:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I said at the start, kinda sad.

5/11/2010 5:14 PM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

...I meant to say "There [were no] difficult questions asked of the admiral."

5/11/2010 6:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part I

I'm all for females on submarines but I'm firmly convinced that the selection process is FUBAR. I have personally observed the following result of the selection process and
it is not pretty (or maybe it actually is pretty...very, very pretty).

There are 2 female SWO(N) LTs. LT 1 volunteered for submarines but was rejected. LT 2 was offered a chance to become a submariner. There are some similarities and
differences between the two officers.

To start: Both sailors are friendly and generally great people. The following observations are made based on a sterile assessment of their job performance - not on them
as human beings.

Similarities: Same year group, same age, same work experience, same gender. Neither has taken an undersea physical - so, that cannot be the reason for the decision.

Differences: The major differences are related to job performance and physical appearance.

LT 1 (The one rejected for submarine service) is very
competent and has performed very well as a nuke. LT 1 is self motivated to do a good job and tackles the hardest tasks and pursues greater responsibility. LT 1 can handle stressful workloads with little/no help or supervision. LT 1's appearance is average, her personality is fairly nerdy and she is not very outgoing...she is an introvert but far from anti-social and gets along well with others in a working environment. LT 1 appears to be Caucasian...I have no idea what her actual ethnic background really is and don't really care. I have never thought to ask and she doesn't talk about it.

LT 2 (the LT offered a position on submarines) has to be micromanaged by other JO's at her shore duty assignment. The RO at her previous command unsuccessfully attempted to
De-Nuke her. LT 2 is not self motivated and requires external stimuli to learn/perform the more difficult aspects of her job. Relatively small amounts of stress
shut her down and slightly higher amounts of stress reduce her to tears. LT 2 has a hard time making decisions. LT 2 has a very outgoing personality and is fairly attractive. She would look great on a magazine cover and would perform well on a morning talk show (neither environments share similarities with a submarine control room - as far as I know. I guess both do have a plethora of monitors). LT 2 is African American. The only reason I know this with certainty (and exclude the disclaimer "appears to be") is
because she talks about her genetic background from time to time.

5/11/2010 6:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 2

So, based on my observations the selection process has a few flaws. I think the following list may be among the most prominent.

1. They are not reviewing performance records as a part of
the process. If the records are being reviewed then past performance is disregarded as part of the selection process.

2. The selection process is focused on external appearance to a greater extent than I'm comfortable with.

3. SUBFOR is more focused on the immediate PR extravaganza than the performance of female officers on submarines in the long run.

4. Someone in the selection process may be trying to sink the whole women in submarines program through inappropriate selections that will end in catastrophe at worst or a pain in the ass at best.

5. The surface community may be taking this as an opportunity to shed some of the poor performers while holding onto the hard chargers.

6. I want to believe that the difference in race is just a coincidence (and for the sake of my sanity I will assume it was a coincidence). But I'll have to admit that it seems a little fishy since one of the CNO's top priorities (2009) was diversity (whatever diversity is supposed to mean).

Normally, I wouldn't even think about race in this context...but the CNO says that race is important in the Navy...so, it is probably my professional duty to get on board and start making it one of my priorities. I should probably judge people on the basis of a random genetic difference instead of the content of their character (sarcasm).

I think bringing the right women with the right performance record onto submarines is a great idea that is long past due. We might not be doing that at this point. I think the force may be pandering to media/HR/PR influences instead of making the right choices based on the correct criteria.

I don't think LT 2's selection is the end of the world because I believe in the concept of redemption. Maybe LT 2 will be able to make the internal changes required to be a successful submariner. I hope she does well and I wish her nothing but success. It's the fact that LT 1 was rejected while LT 2 was selected that gives me cause for concern.
The glaring inequities between the two performance records and the obvious differences in outward physical appearance just make this decision too blatantly ridiculous to ignore.

I could be wrong about the process. Maybe this is just an
aberration. Maybe every other selection has been well made.

I'll also admit that I might not have all of the information or understand all of the variables that went into making the decision. I will admit that I was not a part of the process that went into making the decision and I have little insight into what happens behind closed doors. The whole process is just a black box from my perspective - I see what goes in and I see what comes out. I don't know what happens inside the box. So, I might be wrong about all of this.

God, I hope so.

5/11/2010 6:24 PM

 
Anonymous see ya said...

@Prior anon with the long-winded rant about appearance versus performance:

You don't have to like it, you just have to recognize it for what it is: politics.

Expecting a political decision to 'make sense' is barking at the moon. The two matters have little to do with one another.

What you witnessed is merely confirmation that this idea of women on subs is going to be all-politics, all-the-time.

Don't expect it to be the right thing, and you won't be disappointed.

5/11/2010 6:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have to like it, you just have to recognize it for what it is: politics.

I know...I've just never seen it displayed so blatantly. One of the things I've enjoyed about the sub force is the high performance:politics ratio. I guess I'll just have to adjust.

5/11/2010 7:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an 1120 who is committed for a department head tour (hopefully that alleviates any commitment issues), let me first start by saying that I don't have a problem with women on submarines. I just have a problem with the way they are implementing it.
First, the whole SSBN/SSGN thing is garbage. If they want things to be equal, then they can go to SSNs as well. All this does is send female JOs to the cushy boats (Dont deny it boomer guys....) where maybe they will do a little over a hundred days at sea in a year, while the male counterparts are forced to take the more arduous SSN billets with more time at sea and longer hours in port. Hardly equitable. (One of my best memories of PNEO was when boomer JOs would tell me that they could still count on one hand how many duty days that had stood in their tour up to that point)
Also this whole "they have to be in a stateroom" principle is garbage as well. Can someone tell me why they can't live out in berthing like every male non-qual JO has in their tenure? I just can't wait for the day in the near future when I'm the senior watch officer and I have to explain to one of my warfare qualified, watchbill supporting JO's that he has to move out of his stateroom and back into general berthing because some non-qualified female HAS to have a stateroom. That ought to be a fun conversation.....
Bottom line is, if women want to be judged as equals, they have to be treated and perform as equals, otherwise, it leaves one to reason that this is just another "separate but equal" social experiment.
Just my two cents....

5/11/2010 8:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What makes me sick about all this is that Big Navy is going to fast track one or more of the ladies to command whether deserved or not. Another thought, you know how many relieved CO's and XO's would have gone on to very successful careers if they could have done nothing but drive SSBN's. Do a West Pac or two as DH or XO on a fast boat and then tell me your ready for command.

5/11/2010 8:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Prior anon with the long-winded rant about appearance versus performance

I'm the long winded Anon. I just want to add that I've committed to a DH tour and will probably be going to a SSBN. I'll do my best to help the women if they are assigned to my boat. Even with the politics I will not be voting with my feet. You have to follow the orders you are given...I just wish that those giving the orders would take more care in how they are executed.

5/11/2010 9:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it leaves one to reason that this is just another "separate but equal" social experiment

Ding, ding, ding!!! We have a winner!!!

5/11/2010 9:20 PM

 
Blogger T said...

I don't begrudge women for having the unfortunate opportunity to suffer as a submarine JO with the rest of us ;-), but honestly, this whole situation just further proves to me that the submarine force is going in the wrong direction fast.

I think we lost the bubble several years ago and are quickly accelerating in the wrong direction. Luckily, the rest of the Navy is not doing much better.

See Ya's comments really hit the nail on the head. In a world where the SECDEF is calling our programs too expensive, is it really a smart idea to start adding people into the officer pipeline who will, in all likelihood, retain at 15%? This is not the way to keep down costs. The writing on the wall seems to suggest that we will end up with 30 SSN's, 8 SSBN's, and 0 SSGN's in 20 years. Given current budgetary restraints, does anybody really think Congress is going to continue to buy 2 Virginia Class a year?

I can see the "fairness" argument of letting women serve on submarines, and I agree with it. But at least be honest about the fact that this is not really an accessions necessity. We had 80+ SSN's in the late 80's and 20'ish SSBN's, and somehow managed to make do. 20 years late, sure there's a higher proportion of women in technical majors, but there's also half as many submarines, and more overall people in college total. The accessions argument just doesn't add up. It's insulting to our intelligence to feed us this utter bullshit reasoning to justify female integration.

In a perfect world, the military would care about 1) maximizing the tax payer dollar and 2) Maximizing force readiness. Adding women to submarines accomplishes neither of these goals. This is not to say that women cannot perform the job, or that there won't be some positive benefits. Many women will perform admirably, and some of the culture change on submarines may be an improvement on the status quo. I just want somebody to have the personal integrity to admit that women are being allowed onto submarines out of a sense of fairness, not out of a sense of necessity.

5/12/2010 12:08 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"0 SSGN's in 20 years."

Why no GNs? On what basis do you figure that one to be sure?

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

5/12/2010 1:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The T-Hulls will be past end-of-life in 20 years, and there are no replacements in the design pipeline.

5/12/2010 3:32 AM

 
Anonymous See Ya said...

I just want somebody to have the personal integrity to admit that women are being allowed onto submarines out of a sense of fairness, not out of a sense of necessity.

A laudable wish, but don't hold your breath. Truthfulness rubs against the grain of politicians, whose primary objectives for acquiring and holding political power are emotional in nature, not logical.

There's a reason they all read "The Prince"...but it is not on account of integrity.

5/12/2010 3:42 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The writing on the wall seems to suggest that we will end up with 30 SSN's, 8 SSBN's, and 0 SSGN's in 20 years. Given current budgetary restraints, does anybody really think Congress is going to continue to buy 2 Virginia Class a year?

AND

The T-Hulls will be past end-of-life in 20 years, and there are no replacements in the design pipeline.

It will soon be announced that the current administration sees no need to produce a replacement for the SSBNs - no kidding.

5/12/2010 6:02 AM

 
Blogger T said...

"0 SSGN's in 20 years."

Why no GNs? On what basis do you figure that one to be sure?


Cost Analysis. In 20 years we'll still be balls deep building SBSD, The current SSGN's will be nearing/at the end of core life, and there's no monies for more SSGN's right now. AFAIK, there's no call for an SSGN replacement at all in the pipe dream that is the 30 year shipbuilding plan.

Some of the Virginia class block II and beyond will obviously be configured to use their front Ohio-like tubes to carry Tomahawks and other SSGN equipment, but it's not really the same thing if you only have 2 pods or tubes or whatever you GN guys call them (never been on a GN).

5/12/2010 6:28 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...sure there's a higher proportion of women in technical majors...

This is not really true. The statistic comes from a National Science Foundation report showing that 50.5% of science and engineering bachelors degrees were awarded to women in 2006 (see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf08321/pdf/tab3.pdf).

Trouble is, "science and engineering" includes psychology and social science degrees - neither of which are highly sought by the submarine force. Subtract out those majors and the percentage of females earning real technical degrees is much lower. See the full report here: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf08321/pdf/nsf08321.pdf

5/12/2010 6:33 AM

 
Blogger T said...

Well, that honestly just makes the whole thing worse. Obviously including Psychology and the social "sciences" is going to skew the number towards more women.

5/12/2010 12:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The country is at war. How does this policy change positively effect our ability to win this war and bring our troops home?

Flag officers concerned about policies that have no impact on winning the war, are a waste, and serve to distract.

Women on subs fine idea, but let's win the dang war first!

5/12/2010 5:46 PM

 
Blogger Randall said...

i'd hate to be on the first boat that a feminine hygiene product fouls up the san pump.

all females on board will gain an intimate knowledge of the sanitary system from A-gang. also, all the female non-quals will go dink for a month from not getting a sig on their ship's qual card.

5/12/2010 5:47 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all females on board will gain an intimate knowledge of the sanitary system from A-gang. also, all the female non-quals will go dink for a month from not getting a sig on their ship's qual card.

Me thinks not. You see, the same sort of PC thinking suckups who created this plan will also not permit these sorts of events to elicit any response from the crews. Any woman selected to go to a boat for the first few classes has a free pass and will be unable to do any wrong. Wait and see.

5/12/2010 6:41 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5/11/2010 8:28 PM

The boomers are the "cushy" boats? As with most things in life....YMMV. On the boomer I was on we used to laugh when the fast attack boys would show up talking smack about part-time sailors and how there was no slack in fast attack (it has been awhile - have I missed any of the other sayings??!!).

Us cushy boomer guys would nod our heads and just wait until REFIT. There upon we would have 100% failure rate of the fast attack boys who had never gone through a REFIT and had no idea how difficult it was. Long hours trying to meet an immovable deadline to get the strategic asset back out to sea covering targets.

Anyway, you are on the right track to oppose assignment of women to just Boomers but for the wrong reason. This will fail just as the experiment to have GSO only be on the Boomers as WEPS failed - you ended up with a subset of specialized submarine officers that could only be assigned to one type of submarine. Guaranteed to screw up officer rotation like no one's business...never mind when the eventual happens and the woman that is due to head out on Patrol is pregnant.

5/12/2010 7:24 PM

 
Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

"Us cushy boomer guys would nod our heads and just wait until REFIT. There upon we would have 100% failure rate of the fast attack boys who had never gone through a REFIT and had no idea how difficult it was. Long hours trying to meet an immovable deadline to get the strategic asset back out to sea covering targets."

Oh, really? Does refit include 12 hr port and starboard shiftwork for a week or two?

5/12/2010 7:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think LT 2's selection is the end of the world because I believe in the concept of redemption.

It's probably not the end of the world but I wouldn't count on redemption in the case you describe. If an officer is a scrubber load at that point in their career (on shore duty no less) then there is probably no hope.

I think you are probably right about someone trying to sink the initiative by making stupid selections.

This is political BS and hearing your story just proves how f'd up the process has become.

5/12/2010 7:55 PM

 
Anonymous Former 755/742 E div. said...

Having been both on 688I and a Trident, I find the boomer vs. fast attack argument fascinating. I believe they are both equally strenuous (at least back aft and for the zeros - I can't speak for the coners, though MTs always seemed to have it quite easy).

I was trained at one point by one of the few nuclear women in the fleet - EM1 French (yes, she made E6, and even E7 so I heard)......The experience did sour me on the idea, but I still consider myself objective.

My opinion of women on subs was that until a man and a woman could take a shower together in a communal shower and not have some element of sex be an issue, this will never work.

The "she'll get pregnant and miss an underway" argument is no good - it will be no different than on a surface ship. They'll make do, though it sucks.

It is the disturbing of the routine that will be difficult. Everyone will be forced to make adjustments frequently...."what time is this head for men?", or "when can I enter this berthing compartment?"....This is where it differs from the surface, in that women's areas are always women's areas, no?

5/12/2010 8:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: ...and how there was no slack in fast attack (it has been awhile - have I missed any of the other sayings??!!).

Just for completeness...

SSN's are big and black and don't come back

SSN = Saturdays, Sundays and Nights

Having served on only SSN's I have to admit to some bias (-;

Old Chief from the dark ages
Jerry

5/12/2010 9:19 PM

 
Blogger T said...

Mark/MM1:

Oftentimes, yes. Refit DOES suck. I did 3 drydock refits as MPA, for roughly 6 months in drydock. Generally speaking, I would work between 12-18 hour days depending on what was going on. Generally, we worked weekends for at least half of refit. While Boomer guys obviously stand less duty days, I guarantee they suck more. Standing duty as EDO or SDO is pretty much a 20 hour day. By the end of it you're just dragging ass... Nevermind that you normally have a full workday after. In M-Div, most of my guys worked 10-14 hour days through out refit. A-Gang works like 18 hour days, 7 days a week throughout refit. It's honestly insane.

Now if you're like Sonar or something... not so much.

Obviously, you get some of that time back in Off-Crew, but SSBN's are definitely not smooth sailing all of the time.

5/12/2010 9:30 PM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

Here's the transcription from the roundtable. http://www.defense.gov/Blog_files/Blog_assets/20100511_bruner_transcript.pdf

Here's my response to a thread he started on his blog this morning:
http://tinyurl.com/23ce7es
ETCS

5/12/2010 9:44 PM

 
Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

Thanks for the explanation, t, boomers are still for pussies, though... ;)

5/12/2010 10:19 PM

 
Blogger DDM said...

"While Boomer guys obviously stand less duty days, I guarantee they suck more. Standing duty as EDO or SDO is pretty much a 20 hour day. By the end of it you're just dragging ass... Nevermind that you normally have a full workday after. In M-Div, most of my guys worked 10-14 hour days through out refit. A-Gang works like 18 hour days, 7 days a week throughout refit. It's honestly insane.

Obviously, you get some of that time back in Off-Crew, but SSBN's are definitely not smooth sailing all of the time."

That sounds like a POM upkeep for an SSN nuke, except that the crew size isn't doubled and SSN Sailors do a lot more interference removal. Guess what, after the upkeep they get to go to sea with a bunch of riders (so that over half the crew is hot-racking) to prove they're ready for deployment. After 6-8 weeks of mostly being in and out to sea they get to do about two weeks of final prep, then leave on a six month deployment, which generally ends with a major inspection to ensure you've really felt the burn.

Having been on SSBN 633 and SSN 666, SSN 720, and SSN 23, I can tell you that unless you've done a full 4 year tour on an operational SSN, you have no business saying 70 days of long days per year in your home port makes SSBN life worse than an SSN.

5/13/2010 2:44 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing duty as EDO or SDO is pretty much a 20 hour day. By the end of it you're just dragging ass... Nevermind that you normally have a full workday after.

Are you freaking kidding me??? As a fast attack EM, it was the RARE occasion that my duty day was not a full 24 hour day with ZERO rack time. It was ALWAYS port & starboard on the watchbill and was never better than four section duty. Boomer vs. fast attack? hahahahaha

5/13/2010 5:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having only made it through a half page of Brunner's pdf, I came across this gem:

There'll be two female trained nuclear officers on each of the eight crews, and additionally there'll be a more senior supply officer on those crews that will serve both as a mentor for those new ensigns, the females, but she'll also serve as the mentor to the male officers in the wardroom too.

Uh, sure. Some no load, non-qual, never been to sea on a boat, is going to mentor male JO line officers.

Put down the crack pipe and step away slowly . . .

5/13/2010 6:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long ago in a Navy far far away....

After the race riots on the bird farms in the late 60's and early 70's, (yes, there were race riots that caused these carriers to be pulled off the line in the South China Sea), the Navy came up with a sensitivity program called UPWARDS.

Understanding Personal Worth and Racial Dignity. As a good sailor, I said "aye aye" and got onboard with the program.

After successfully completing this arduous week long indoctrination process, the unintended effect on me was to plant a seed of doubt concerning every black officer I encountered there after. There weren't that many there at the time at Groton.

Did that officer earn his rank through competency and performance, or was he a fast tracked, political appointee, front office type, simply for show?

No matter how "onboard" you will be with the "women on boats" program, that doubt will haunt you.

Doubt in the competency of a command given during a casualty in a ship at sea can cause hesitation in execution of that command. That hesitation can be the difference between life and death.

Submarining is too serious an endeavor for social engineering experiments, and I hope no one dies because of this.

ex-EM1(SS)

5/13/2010 6:18 AM

 
Anonymous See Ya said...

Uh, sure. Some no load, non-qual, never been to sea on a boat, is going to mentor male JO line officers.

You're absolutely right...that's a totally ludicrous statement. Until you examine its true meaning: as a likely LCDR, she'll be there to crack heads in a military chain-of-command kind of way should any 'nub' Lieutenants get too frisky with the ladies.

Welcome to PCSSN: Ze zampolit ist Vatching YOU.

5/13/2010 6:43 AM

 
Anonymous See Ya said...

...as a likely LCDR, she'll be there to crack heads in a military chain-of-command kind of way should any 'nub' Lieutenants get too frisky with the ladies.

Moreover: "...or any 'nub' LCDR, or 'nub' CDR, or 'nub' CAPT get too frisky with the ladies."

The zampolit is gonna be as busy as a one-armed boomer sailor in re-snit.

5/13/2010 7:01 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I have a bunch of questions...

1) Where is this all going? There is no SSGN replacement scheduled to be built. The whole point of recruiting JO's is to develop submarine skippers. Based on the rules in place, you must have one deterrent patrol and one SSN/SSGN deployment in order to be eligible for command. Only exception is guys that do fast attack their whole career. Unless they relax this rule, in roughly 17 years when the SSGN's will start to phase out, then they are going to have to retrofit the VA-class boats. Or we will have to escape our social norms that are engrained in us here in the US. Women on Norwegian subs is not that far fetched because in Scandinavian navies men and women shower together.

2) When do they start to retrofit the SSBN/SSGNs to accommodate enlisted female sailors? I just don’t see how they are going to fairly make accommodations.

3) What are they going to do when overall attrition of JO’s goes up? Right now the retention of JO’s is great, but that has nothing to do with any initiative that the Sub Force or PERS-42 has implemented. It’s the economy stupid, and I would take a good look at the quality of guys that are staying in. No offense to the guys that are staying in, but my best and brightest friends that would make great DH’s, XO’s, and CO’s are all getting out or are already out enjoying their new careers. What is the breakdown of JO retention between fast attack JOs and boomer JOs? I have no proof of this, but I have a feeling that it’s at least slightly skewed toward more boomer JOs staying in. If the current overall retention rate of women is 10-15% and they all are going to SSBN/SSGNs, then that means they are forcing JOs to go fast attack. I argue that some of those guys may have had a more enjoyable experience on a boomer.

Bottom line, and I know most of these questions are rhetorical, but this seems like it will be more of a bill than a cost saver. Do I think that women can do the job? Absolutely. I just don’t like the apparent lack of planning and foresight that they are moving ahead with this decision.

By the way, Randall, I had female middies onboard that didn’t listen when we told them not to flush their feminine products down the crapper. A-div was not too pleased when they had to fix the san pump.

5/13/2010 8:45 AM

 
Anonymous See Ya said...

Where is this all going?

Emotional satisfaction for the empowered political party.

Feel better yet?

This has _nothing_ to do with making sense. This is politics.

Go re-read Machiavelli, and notice how the end-zone plays are all emotional in nature.

I'm not being sarcastic, nor bitter...it is a plain fact that this is all designed to satisfy the incumbents' feminine ego.

Period (so to speak).

5/13/2010 9:35 AM

 
Anonymous pc assclown said...

Two questions:

1. Where do I go to sign up for that Scandinavian navy male/female shower thing? Would be looking for the soap to get dropped.

2. What's up with these concerns about a pump getting clogged up with tampons and cunt rags? I came from a submarine force that blew sanatary tanks. I suppose future modified boats will solve sanitary products in the shit tank issue by installing a new type (much smaller) of TDU (Tampon Disposal Unit)

5/13/2010 11:30 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the females limited to the SSBNs and SSGNs, doesn't it confirm or at least continue to muddy the waters of the question of Boomer pussies. As someone that has 9 boats under their belt with an almost 50/50 split between boomer and fast boats, each has their own issues and pains that have to be borne by their respective crews.
It just seems that someone without a clue that is set on their path to righteousness has decided that the submarine force will have females onboard without regard to taxpayer’s dollars on the changes that will be required to the fleet, the implications of having a split crew in a confined space for extended periods of time and the limited if any real or perceived payback by having to go through these changes by having female crewmembers. If we had someone with balls in the upper COC that would throw their stars on the table as they are testifying to Congress that this makes no sense and that they are willing to give up their career in order to not put the force through this BS drill in political butt sharking, I think that we as a force would through ourselves into the support and successful implementation of this asinine policy.
On a side note, when I entered the Navy many yrs ago, homosexuality was against the rules, now it’s optional. I thank god I got out before it became mandatory.

Just think how lucky you are to be a submarine sailor of 2011. Ya can’t smoke a fag but sure can blow all of em you want.

Some of this might be the beer and pain killers talking but some of this is from the heart. If I have offended anyone, piss off.

5/13/2010 12:20 PM

 
Anonymous See Ya said...

...(blah, blah, blah)....female crewmembers....(yadda, yadda)...


Guys...learn to embrace irrationality. And how to dance.

And keep a sense of humor about the non-sense. It'll serve you well.

5/13/2010 2:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my old SPU prototype instructors got picked for Submarines. She was counselled several times for fraternizing with some of the Male Officer Students...but she's hot...so, I guess that is all that is required to be a submariner and she'll get a pass.

Her maturity level was fairly low when I worked with her. I hope she has pulled her head out of her ass since then.

People like her are exactly what we DON'T need on submarines...can't follow the rules as a SPU but we expect here to follow them on a submarine.

This coupled with the previous stories tell me that there are systemic problems with the screening process.

5/13/2010 3:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This coupled with the previous stories tell me that there are systemic problems with the screening process.
No kidding - Like the friggin' in the riggin' (in the actual office spaces) that took place recently over at CSP. Unbelievable.

5/13/2010 4:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the friggin' in the riggin' (in the actual office spaces) that took place recently over at CSP. Unbelievable.

Please elaborate.

5/13/2010 4:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having sex with men is what women do. Surely whoever's in charge of this change - if anyone is - knows that.

So this is clearly a feature...not a flaw...of the new program.

Get with the program.

5/13/2010 5:11 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friggin in the reactor compartment would bring new meaning to inserting control rods into the reactor vessel.

5/14/2010 3:19 PM

 
Anonymous ELT1 said...

Female SPU's get picked up based on looks alone. Gotta get them while they are young. Once they go to sea they blow up. We have no good looking sea returnee females at prototype, but there sure are a few navy-hot SPU's. One is a massive cum dumpster and the dirty old chiefs follow her around all day, tongues wagging, it's pathetic. Maybe one day she'll be an officer too!

5/15/2010 8:19 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And during this whole rant by
everybody? When is crystal city gonna spew out the plan for CPO leadership for the females? Are they just gonna magic a Chief that knows something about submarines? A female enlisted advisor?
I already know 1 competent LDO
that has been turned down for 1120 conversion and denied submarine duty as a female.
I worked for Bruhner on the Florida. He's a damn solid CO and this is being pushed down his throat.
This will happen, but it will only succeed if the Chiefs make it happen.


Hagar

5/16/2010 12:30 AM

 
Anonymous STSC said...

Are they just gonna magic a Chief that knows something about submarines? A female enlisted advisor?
That's actually pretty easy to do.
1. Female HMC for an IDC. We *ALREADY* do this with guys. A year after checking onboard and the Doc will know enough about the boat & sub life to mentor younger folk.

2. Any competent YNC, LSC (box-kickers formerly known as SK's for those of you who are out), or CSC from the surface Navy could also easily transfer over to the sub force and act as good mentors.

They don't have to know everything about the boat right away - they only have to know how to lead, motivate, and manage people. That and to call on their Mess for help when needed for submarine stuff outside of their experience.

This isn't rocket science. It is submarining - it is all about effort and attitude and not about brains or brawn to get the job done.

5/16/2010 3:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't rocket science. It is submarining - it is all about effort and attitude and not about brains or brawn to get the job done.

Umm...I will have to disagree there. Effort and attitude are great but they are not enough to get the job done. You have to have some brains (aka competence and ability to learn) and brawn (aka physical endurance) to get the job done.

A pleasant dimenor will not get the boat to P/D and SUBFOR won't excuse failure because you "tried really hard to not run aground"

5/16/2010 4:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Female HMC I can see being on a boat for obvious reasons. Chances are, it's going to happen as well.

For all other rates you'll still have to make it through BESS. The Corpsman community on the enlisted side are the only rate who has a valid excuse not to go to Groton directly after A school.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

5/16/2010 6:03 PM

 
Anonymous STSC said...

You have to have some brains (aka competence and ability to learn) and brawn (aka physical endurance) to get the job done.

I agree - but neither of these are characteristics that female CPO's in the surface fleet (who would volunteer) are lacking.

If we want to start adding brawn qualifiers like "must be able to shut & dog the weapon shipping hatch unassisted" we'd be losing some of our own guys right now.
Passing the PFA (& a sub physical) are the only physical metrics we have.

The ladies can hack it. Again - it isn't rocket science. We have a serving COB in the fleet right now (who brags about how stupid he is) w/ an AFQT of 41.

If you have the right attitude and put forth the effort, be it on initial SS quals or DOOW, you CAN get qualified. One may not be the best at it, so that person won't end up on the Battlestations Watchbill, but there will be a spot on the team available.

I slept through half of BESS at 18 & still graduated w/ very little effort. That course of instruction is designed to be an 'intro to subs' pump, not a filter. Surface female CPO's who volunteer aren't going to have many problems w/ it.

5/16/2010 6:34 PM

 
Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

I was gonna say, "Did someone actually imply that BESS is a hurdle?"...ROFL.

5/16/2010 7:26 PM

 
Anonymous If The Public Only Knew said...

"No kidding - Like the friggin' in the riggin' (in the actual office spaces) that took place recently over at CSP. Unbelievable."

Heard some rumors about this from different sources. Not something that CSP wanted public...oops, wasn't this not supposed to on the internet?

The entire submarine force has truly lost it's way...

5/16/2010 9:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Female HMC I can see being on a boat for obvious reasons. Chances are, it's going to happen as well.

Now that would be funny. I can just imagine the line outside her office, "Chief, I need you to take a look at my junk, I might have put it somewhere I shouldn't have done so."

5/16/2010 9:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all other rates you'll still have to make it through BESS. The Corpsman community on the enlisted side are the only rate who has a valid excuse not to go to Groton directly after A school.

Unless things have changed, nukes don't go, and it never prevented any on my boat from qualifying.

5/16/2010 9:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly does that have to do with anything? We're not talking about enlisted nukes on this subject.

5/16/2010 10:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More details re: fraternization at SUBPAC?

kthx

5/17/2010 6:45 AM

 
Anonymous scuttlebutt said...

LCDR(sel) on YNC(hottie) over the desk (consensual) in CSP offices is what I heard 3rd hand.

Occifer may end up becoming Ltjg over this...

5/17/2010 4:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LCDR(sel) on YNC(hottie) over the desk (consensual) in CSP offices is what I heard 3rd hand.

Occifer may end up becoming Ltjg over this...


Awesome! Talk about an expensive piece of ass!

If your going to do it then be smart enough to sneak around away from fucking SUBPAC...Hopefully this happened in a SCIF...while they were on watch...that would be super sweet. Hopefully, one of them were married as well...Super Sweet ^2

Well, I don't blame him too much. It's hard to control yourself sometimes...especially if they wear uniform skirts. After all...EBAD. Enlisted Bitches are Delicious!

5/17/2010 4:30 PM

 
Blogger T said...

I thought that Submarine officers were too professional for that?

Looking at the roundtable transcript, the most egregious B.S. in the whole thing is this:


One of the things it's important to note is that over the last
40 years we've gone from where Navy males graduated from college, 75
percent of them got technical degrees, to now they only -- (45 ?) percent
of all the males are getting technical degrees. And women have gone up
to the point where today women are actually gaining more technical
degrees than men are. So we really need to open up the talent pool.



Several things jump out at me immediately about this statement.

1) The students are qualified specifically with the term "Navy men and women". This leads me to believe they are specifically talking about ROTC and Academy Midshipmen, possibly to include NUPOC types. In other words, he's not REALLY talking about POTENTIAL submariners, as in, nationwide trending of all students. He's taking a subset of the population that will heavily favor women with technical majors (Navy Midshipmen) and then talking about trends within this population to make the numbers look more favorable. It's not much of a jump to suspect that Navy women are more likely to be technical majors than women at large in the general population.

2) Though Admiral Bruner doesn't mention this, the Navy does have control over what Midshipmen major in.... If they need more technical majors, merely dictate that they pursue technical majors to continue receiving their scholarships. They already do this to some degree and have for several years. Further, there are technical requirements for ALL ROTC and Academy midshipmen, if these requirements aren't meeting the needs of the Navy, they can obviously change non-degree requirements as well. Add another semester of required math, physics, etc.

2) He says that 45% of men in the Navy now get technical degrees and 75% of women in the Navy do. And somehow, in an absolute sense more Navy Women get technical degrees than Navy Men. For this to be true, a full 40% of whatever sample pool needs to be "Navy Women". Any walk around any command at any base in any branch of the armed forces (with the possible exception of legal offices and military hospitals), will quickly reveal that the proportion of women in the military is nowhere close to 40%. The number I know is closer to 15%. It may be a higher percentage in the training pipeline, but somehow, I'm still doubting it's even close to approaching 40% (I'm basing this on the two visits to ROTC units I've done in the past two years).

I am definitely tired of the lying from the sub force on this issue.

5/17/2010 7:36 PM

 
Anonymous Been There, Done That, Too said...

I am definitely tired of the lying from the sub force on this issue.

They're just the sockpuppets for this political drama. The hands in the puppets are politicians of a certain flavor.

VOTE.

5/18/2010 9:04 AM

 
Anonymous Serena said...

Really useful information, thanks so much for the article.

8/25/2012 10:51 PM

 

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