Washington: The US military`s ban on women
serving on submarines passed quietly into history on Thursday.
Secretary of Defence Robert Gates notified lawmakers in
mid-February that the Navy would be lifting the ban, unless
Congress took some action against it. And Navy spokesman Lt
Justin Cole said today that the deadline for Congress to act
passed at midnight.
The Navy plans a press conference later Thursday to talk
about the new policy.
"There are extremely capable women in the Navy who have
the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force," Navy
Secretary Ray Mabus said hours after the congressional
"Enabling them to serve in the submarine community is
best for the submarine force and our Navy.
"We literally could not run the Navy without women
today," Mabus said in a statement released by the Submarine
The Navy expanded the number of assignments available to
women 15 years ago, allowing them to serve on surface ships
but deeming that their service on submarines would cost too
In preparation for changing the old policy, the Navy has
worked out a plan to phase in women by allowing them to begin
serving on submarines that will not require costly alterations
to accommodate females.