Probably the most critical lesson learned in the surface force, Harvey said, is the need to have strong officer and senior enlisted leadership in place before bringing in junior enlisted women.
That’s because incidents of pregnancy and fraternization are less frequent in crews with strong female leaders onboard.
“It can’t be ‘I’m the woman on the submarine’ — that’s just a terrible burden to put on everybody, particularly that young woman,” Harvey said.
He said it will take some time to build a “critical mass” of female leadership needed to seed the integrated crews.
“You’d have to get at least a small cadre of female chiefs or first-class petty officers, and those, of course, would have to come from other parts of the Navy initially,” Donnelly said. “Then they would have to have sufficient time to qualify in submarines in order to have, I think, the credibility as leaders on the ship, and that takes some time.”
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