GROTON, Conn. (AP) — A survey to be issued soon to female sailors across the Navy will measure their level of interest in serving aboard submarines, part of a review that could lead to enlisted women joining the undersea force by 2016.
The responses, expected this summer, will help guide the work of a panel led by a Groton-based admiral charged with developing options for integration, Navy spokesman Lt. Timothy Hawkins said Thursday.
"The ability to attract, recruit and retain quality female sailors is essential to the success of integration," Hawkins said.
The Navy reversed a ban on women in submarines in April 2010. Female officers already are serving on ballistic-missile and guided-missile subs, and next year female officers will begin reporting for assignment on the smaller attack submarines, where sleeping quarters pose more of a privacy problem.
The panel, led by Navy Rear Adm. Kenneth Perry, is developing options for the integration of enlisted ranks as early as 2016.
Hawkins said the propensity for women to serve is one issue the panel is exploring along with others including modifications that might be required to the submarines, possible changes in recruiting and issues related to retention.
Groton-based contractor Electric Boat is working on a design for a new submarine to replace the aging Ohio-class ballistic missile subs. The Navy said it is working with contractors on a design that would accommodate female officers and mixed-gender crews.