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Military Connection: Women on SEAL Teams? By Debbie Gregory

SEALSMilitaryConnection previously reported that the U.S. Army is deciding whether or not to proceed with a pilot program to integrate female soldiers into the elite Army Ranger school. Apparently, U.S. Navy leadership is also deliberating on whether or not to integrate women into their Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) teams or Special Warfare Combatant Crewman units. A report from a U.S. Special Operations Command was due in July, 2014, but the completion of the report or its findings have not been confirmed.

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus has made a deliberate effort to expand the inclusion of women Navy-wide. Mabus has supported admitting women to SEAL teams, as well as other Naval Special Warfare (NSW) units. The NSW community remains the last area in the Navy that prohibits women from joining. Within the past year, the Navy opened the  Coastal Riverine Force, as well as the attack submarine community, to women.

In March, 2014, the Navy opened up 267 riverine billets to women, with 21 more billets for the joint terminal attack controller enlisted classification added in September. The first female attack sub officers will report to the USS Virginia (SSN-774) and the USS Minnesota (SSN-783) in January, 2015.

In a meeting with the press on September 30, 2014, the SECNAV stated that he hadn’t heard whether or not a report had been submitted to the DOD about adding women to SEAL teams. But he did express his opinion on the subject.

“In my opinion, if people meet the qualifications, I don’t think gender should matter,” Mabus said. He later added, “The thing I keep saying about SEALs, about special warfare, is eighty percent of men don’t make it. So we know what the standards are. If you can make it, I don’t see where gender has much of a place.”

The current push to integrate women into all communities and occupations in all branches of the U.S. Military began in February, 2012. When then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the DOD would allow women in the ranks to fill billets in ground combat units at the battalion level. This opened over 14,000 billets to women across all branches of service. In 2013, the Navy began opening up the last jobs closed to female sailors.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Women on SEAL Teams? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: NAVY and USMC Need more Women! By Debbie Gregory

SECNAVUnhappy with the amount of women serving in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus plans to take action to increase female recruitment.

According to the SECNAV, women currently make up approximately 18% of Navy personnel and only 8% of Marine Corps personnel. Mabus said that he didn’t have a specific number in mind, but that these percentages were too low.

There are approximately 200,000 women currently serving in the entire active duty military. At that number, women make up about 15% of the total force. Since 2001, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mabus spoke of the importance of having a diverse force as the reason for bringing more women to the service when he said, “The more diverse input you have into something, the better the organization is.”

The SECNAV said that the Department of the Navy is developing a series of measures, some that it can adopt on its own, and some that would require congressional approval.

Mabus indirectly cited his desire to increase female recruitment for the implementation of unisex enlisted uniforms. For years, female sailors wore a separate dress uniform from the male sailors’ iconic dress blue uniform, commonly referred to as “cracker jacks.” Females used to wear a blouse and blazer instead of cracker jacks. Female sailors were also required to wear separate headgear than males, for both their dress white and dress blue uniforms. Women had to buy and maintain a more expensive, heavier and less comfortable combination cover, instead of the men’s traditional white cap.

Many traditionalists have criticized the uniform change, saying that the Navy was putting women in men’s uniforms. But the SECNAV defended the move when he said:

“We”re not moving to put women in men”s uniforms. We”re moving to the term ‘uniform’,” Mabus said. “We don”t want to segregate women or anybody else in any way in the military.”

Based on a January, 2013 decision by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, each branch of the U.S. Military has until January 2016 to assess which jobs are open to women to allow them to serve in combat.

So far, around 80,000 of an estimated 250,000 additional jobs have already been opened to women as result of Panetta’s order.

Women interested in careers in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps should follow the respective links from the MilitaryConnection.com homepage.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: NAVY and USMC Need more Women! By Debbie Gregory