What could be more unnecessary than a screen door on a submarine? On
Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee will be debating a
proposal that is equally ridiculous, putting women in submarines.

Now there are times when a screen door might be of some use. An
argument could be made that on rare occasions when the sub is on the
surface of the ocean it could keep out a few misplaced sea gulls. In
this space-and-weight sensitive environment, it is an argument that
surely would be lost. However, it is one more argument than can be made
for putting women aboard subs.

There is no job that can be performed by a woman that cannot be
performed by a man. However there are many jobs that simply require
brute strength that can be performed by a man, but not a woman. Our
submarine fleet is lean and the crews that man our subs, by necessity,
are small. Therefore, it is necessary to get the most out of each crew
member. There is no shortage of men to fill these jobs. Why then are
we having this debate? We are having it to be fair. The Defense
Advisory Council of Women in the Services has recommended this move to
give female sailors more career choices.

This mischief-making Pentagon panel serves as a forum for those who
view the military as just another stepping stone on the ladder leading
us toward a utopian egalitarian society. Vickie McCall, a real estate
agent from Utah, chairs the 36-member committee of mostly civilians,
hand-picked by the Secretary of Defense. The green light for this
nonsense was given last June when Richard Danzig, the man Mr. Clinton
selected as his Secretary of the Navy, told the Naval Submarine League
that it was time to come to grips with the need to include women in
order to “broaden opportunities for minority sailors.” The Clinton
Administration line goes like this: “If the submarine force remains a
white male bastion, it will wind up getting less support now that women
make up more of Congress.” That sounds like blackmail!

Admiral Jay Johnson, our Chief of Naval Operations, adamantly is
opposed for the most obvious of reasons. Reconstructing submarines to
accommodate privacy considerations for women would further reduce
existing below-standard living conditions or require the removal of
equipment as space and weight tradeoffs, which would result in reduced
operational capabilities.

Not to worry. DACOWITS wants to begin the integration of women on
our largest subs with officers who would have their own quarters and be
able to bark orders to the peons who have to do the heavy lifting.
Space is limited, including space for officers, and DACOWITS wants to
put aboard female officers who have no experience on these vessels.

However, this is only the first step. DACOWITS then wants the Navy
to redesign its submarines now under construction to accommodate women,
which is projected to add $4 million to the cost of each sub, and take
away from their war-fight capabilities. It makes no sense, unless you
believe that war is now unnecessary and our military nothing but a
laboratory for social experimentation.

On Wednesday, May 10, the House Armed Services Committee will debate
an amendment to the 2001 Defense Authorization Act by Congressman Roscoe
Bartlett of Maryland which would prevent the Clinton Administration from
making the change while Congress is out of session. The amendment is
necessary because Congress bowed to pressure from the feminist lobby in
1994 and removed the legal barriers to women serving on combat ships.
Submarines were exempt, but the new law stated that the Navy could make
a change with a 30-day notice to Congress. The Bartlett Amendment would
change the requirement so that the administration would have to notify
Congress, and no change would take place until 120 days of continuous
congressional sessions have elapsed, thereby giving Congress ample time
to work its will on any proposed change.

Those members of the House Armed Service Committee who may be willing
to weaken our submarine fleet and add this unnecessary cost to our
defense budget in order to curry favor with the radical feminists are:
Tillie Fowler, R-Fla., John McHugh, R-N.Y., Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., Mary
Bono, R-Calif., Steven Kuykendall, R-Calif., Ike Skelton, D-Ill., Owen
Pickett, D-Ill., Lane Evans, D-Ill., Jim Turner, D-Texas, John Kasich,
R-Ohio, Herbert Bateman, R-VA., Don Sherwood, R-Pa., Gene Taylor,
D-Miss., and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.

These members must be reminded that our submarine fleet and our
taxpayers must be protected from political opportunists. No screen
doors or women are needed on our underwater vessels.

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