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US Navy Women in Submarines Dissertation Writing (Dissertation Sample)


The task was to write a literature review as part of a thesis discussing the placement of women in the Us navy on submarines, and how it affected mission readiness. the task was to write a 9-page paper and a four-page annotated bibliography for the sources.


US Navy Policy on Women on Submarines and its Effects on Mission Readiness
Institutional Affiliation
Chapter 2
Literature Review
The integration of women into the armed forces has been a long and arduous journey. It has experienced both criticism and support in an almost equal measure over the years. As such, the eventual integration of women into the armed forces has been a significant milestone in the pursuit of gender equality in the world (Wooten, 2015). While integration of women into the army and air force has been somewhat smooth, their integration into the Navy has faced its fair share of problems. Perhaps the most significant problem is the integration of women into the personnel of submarines in the US (Ellis & Munson, 2015). While the integration of women into submarine personnel is a progressive step in itself, it has significant implications on the performance and mission readiness of the submarine’s crew. This literature review aims to explore the impacts, if any, of the integration of women into submarine personnel and their effects on mission readiness.
Throughout history, the armed forces have been viewed as a man’s domain. This perhaps stems from the history of mankind, and how it has shaped gender perceptions. In almost all historical texts, war and combat was a common phenomenon that communities were forced to accept in one way or another. However, in such texts, the protagonists and heroes were predominantly male. From Achilles to Alexander the Great and almost every other wartime hero, it was perceived that combat was reserved for men. These stories inherently shaped the perceptions of society and played a central role in influencing the predominantly male constitution of most armed forces. However, the advancement of the civil rights movement and the pursuit of gender equality resulted in the incorporation of female officers into the armed forces. One of the first countries to institute this mandate was Britain, which did so sometime after the end of the Second World War. This inclusion into full military service paved the way for many countries in incorporating women into full military service, including the USA (Wooten, 2015).
In the USA, however, the Navy has been long associated with exemplary military service that often requires a combination of skill, strength, tactical prowess, and commitment. Unfortunately, women have been long considered to be a hindrance to upholding these ideals. As such, they had been consistently locked out of various naval positions that were previously considered to be male fortes (2013). However, this has changed over the years with the Navy accepting a significant number of female officers to serve on submarines. In spite of this progress, women serving in submarines are still considered as having some negative impacts on the performance of the crew.
Issues Surrounding Women on Submarines
There are a number of issues that have been put forward in the arguments raised against having female officers serve on submarines. Most of them are based on structural, gender, and biological issues that women face, and how they stand to affect the mission readiness of the submarine’s crew.
Gender Integrated Submarines
The first and arguably most significant problem is the availability of gender-integrated ships and submarines (Wooten, 2015). Based on their design, submarines are typically structured in an open format. This is purposely based on the need to conserve and maximize the use of space. Ellis and Munson find that most submarines were designed to house single-gender male officers, and as such, there is minimal privacy to be enjoyed in such spaces (2015). This is particularly the case when it comes to berthing and head facilities within submarines. Typically, submarines are not designed to be co-ed, due to the minimal privacy that they allow. As such, the integration of women into the Navy and their appointment as submarine officers has resulted in an increased demand for gender-integrated submarines.
Naturally, this exercise demands the modification of existing submarines to ensure that they provide both berthing and head facilities for women. Similarly, most submarines have double or triple bunks. According to Burrelli, this poses a significant challenge considering the fact that women are typically enrolled in groups of two to ensure that they have berthing partners (2013). In the case where triple bunks are provided, this can become a significant challenge to the smooth operation of the submarine and its crew. The same can be said of head facilities. Submarines are typically fitted with urinals and minimal toilets to cater to the largely male personnel. The integration of women demands the creation of separate head facilities for women to guarantee their privacy. Osborn (2015) reports on how some female naval officers were secretly videotaped while undressing and showering by male colleagues. This is a demonstration of the lack of privacy that current submarines provide, and how it facilitates the invasion of personal space and privacy that all officers are entitled to. However, the Navy finds that the cost of restructuring submarines to meet the needs of both genders is too expensive and time-consuming to be viable (Wooten, 2015).
Bunk Availability
The integration of women into the Navy and their appointment as submarines officers is commendable. However, the inclusion of women in this respect suffers a great deal due to the reduced availability of bunk space. Every submarine has a definite number of bunks for use, which are designated for both male and female officers (Kamarck, 2016). Considering the fact that male officers form the majority of naval submarine officers and crew, women are forced to settle for the remaining bunk spaces available. This limited bunk availability inherently restrains the number of women that can be taken on as officers and crew on a submarine (Ellis & Munson, 2015). As such, this approach inadvertently limits the opportunities that women access to develop their careers as naval officers aboard submarines. This is especially since working on submarine crews provides unique opportunities to learn about tactical naval warfare and maneuvering, both of which are considered valuable to advancing a naval career (United States Government Accountability Office, 2017).
Medical Issues
It should also be noted that there are significant medical issues that have been found to have an effect on crew performance aboard a submarine. Insofar as all naval officers and crew working in submarines are concerned, there are health thresholds that must be met (Fitriani, Cooper & Matthews, 2016). The occurrence of medical conditions and complications can jeopardize the effectiveness of a submarine mission, and especially so when the mission relies on an undetected submarine presence. For all officers and crew working on submarines, medical issues such as asthma, anemia, migraines, gallstones, orthopedic injury, and mental health are important (Kane & Horn, 2001). While this list is not exhaustive, it highlights some of the serious medical conditions that submarine personnel should avoid. In almost all cases, with the exception of mental health, women have much higher prevalence and occurrence rates compared to men (Ellis & Munson, 2015). This is a serious cause for concern. For some of these conditions such as orthopedic injuries and gallstones, the officers or crew members may have to be airlifted for medical support. This is often because the medical officers are not fully equipped to handle such problems (Kane & Horn, 2001). This will often call for the submarine to surface, during which it risks detection, thereby according to Kane and Horn, jeopardizing the safety of the crew and the mission, in addition to posing a significant threat to national security (2001).
Effects on Mission Readiness
While the above factors demonstrate some of the issues surrounding women working aboard submarines, it must be understood that said issues have far-reaching consequences that must be taken into consideration (RAND, 1997). In essence, these issues affect the ability of the submarine crew to be mission ready in some ways, which can compromise the integrity of the entire mission as well as the lives of military personnel attached to the various forces, when working collaboratively (Iskra, 2003). Mission readiness is essentially the level of preparedness and accuracy with which a crew can perform a mission successfully. At its core, it relies on a number of factors which are espoused below.
When men and women cohabit, it is only natural that some of them will develop sexual relationships. This is an inevitable fact. As a result of this, some women may become pregnant, which stands to impact the performance of the individual and crew in question (United States Government Accountability Office, 2017). This is one of the issues that affect women working on submarines. Submarines are typically staffed with a limited number of officers and crew that work together on both long and short missions. In this structure, every officer is assigned specific duties that they must perform without failure. Ensuring that every officer performs their designated duty is a core component of mission readiness and effective mission performance (Fitriani, Cooper & Matthews, 2016). However, insofar as pregnant women are concerned, these rules have to be bent to accommodate their pregnancies. Military policy prohibits pregnant women from being assigned duties that might compromise the safety of the unborn child. Kamarck establishes that these include ground combat and firing weapons, just to name a few (2016). In such cases, pregnant women will be assigned lighter duties, although such duties are, in principle, not what they joined t...
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