Friday, August 25, 2017

The Pregnant Sailor Problem

We have it on the authority of no less than Joe Biden. At the last West Point commencement ceremony, then Vice-President Biden declared that having more women in the armed forces would make us stronger and more powerful.

Everyone knows it’s an illusion, but it’s political kryptonite to say so. The result: we have more women on Navy ships and their presence—or, should I say, absences—surely undermines combat readiness and group cohesion. You see, these female sailors have a tendency to get pregnant while on duty. Once that happens, they can no longer deploy. They are sent back to base.

During the first Gulf War many female sailors got pregnant on the way to the Gulf. It was surely a sign of their strength and fortitude, their lust for a fight. Isn’t it interesting that a woman can be relieved of duty for an excuse that does not make her look cowardly?

Anyway, the Z man blog has the details about the current situation (via Maggie’s Farm):

Currently, 16% of deployed females aboard ship are pregnant. You cannot serve on a Navy vessel while pregnant so it means these females are reassigned to shore duty. Overall, females in the Navy are 50% more likely to be reassigned to land duty than males, so it is not just pregnancy. It is biological reality.

This means that just about every ship in the fleet has a readiness problem, due to the lack of trained personnel. The Navy has a rule requiring every ship to be at least 25% female, so that means vessels cannot be deployed, because of the shortage of female sailors who are not pregnant. This 25% rule was just implemented. That’s why the pregnancy rates have gone up. It also means the rising pregnancy problem did not result in a reevaluation of the policy. Instead it was met with a new effort to prove that biology is not real.

Who made up the rule about 25% female? Was it the Obama administration? If it was just implemented, either the current bosses of the Defense Dept. made it up or they have not had the courage to change it. 

At a time when sailors in the Pacific fleet keep getting killed by accident, it is time to re-evaluate the politically correct rules that are undermining group cohesion and combat readiness. If sailors work as a team, what happens when a few members are sent home for reasons of pregnancy?


Sam L. said...

I'm sure the 25% rule came form the Obama administration. Of course, the generals and admirals are subject to PC notions, as well.

Ares Olympus said...

"The Navy has a rule requiring every ship to be at least 25% female, so that means vessels cannot be deployed, because of the shortage of female sailors who are not pregnant."

Stuart: Who made up the rule about 25% female?

First we should confirm that this is actually a rule, rather than just internet gossip. This link below suggest 25% as a goal, not a requirement. Certainly internet writers can generate more outrage by saying ships can't be deployed below that number, but its better to have facts than assumptions.
The Navy is proceeding with its plan to increase the number of women in the service to 25 percent with a similar goal of attaining that ratio in each ship and squadron, the vice chief of naval operations said Thursday.

Women currently make up about 17 percent of the Navy, said Adm. Michelle Howard, who made a stop in Honolulu on her way to the International Maritime Defense Exhibition in Singapore, where she will meet with her counterparts from other nations in the region.

Howard said women make up about 46 percent of the civilian workforce, and studies by the Department of Labor have found that an organization achieves optimal performance when its workforce maintains at least 25 percent of whatever the minority sex might be.

For that reason, Howard proposed to the secretary of navy that the service “ought to be shooting for a Navy that’s about 25 percent women,” she said.
At that level “workplace relationships get normalized,” she said.

Howard’s plan, however, goes beyond an overall number and seeks to specifically increase the number of women serving on each ship and squadron.

Because the Navy is globally distributed, a higher percentage of women is needed overall if they are to be represented in greater numbers in ships around the world, she said.

“We’re going back and looking at the ships — all of them — and what percentage of women are on the ships. Over time we’ll modernize them to make sure we get to about 25 percent on each ship.”

James said...

I do not know if the 25% is a reg or not. I have no problems with women in combat roles as long as it does not impair the war fighting abilities of the unit, ship, or formation. Hydraulics, electronics, and other modern aids mitigate the necessity of physical strength being a paramount concern in many areas.
Where though physical strength, morale, and unit cohesion are still paramount the introduction of women is a mistake and will be paid for by lives.
The military exists for one purpose only, to defend the US against it's enemies by force, anything else is nonsense.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Fascinating post. So many avenues for consideration. I'd like to consider two...

Regardless of whatever we believe or want to be the case, the statistics offered here indicate there is a significant problem. Pregnancy is certainly not an unhealthy condition for reproductively healthy women. However, if women are required to serve on shore while pregnant, the Navy is indicating it is a risky condition that precludes them from beinv at sea, in whatever way. This is sensible, as the woman carries new human life. Again, this is normal. Yet the impact of shoreside work to the person is similar on a pregnant civilian accountant, consultant or comparable desk job ashore. Perhaps we are saying there is something special about military service, especially while at sea? But we are not. They're actually the same -- for women. Again, this is sensible. And the purpose of the Navy is to project American power... and the only way to do this is for the Navy to be at sea. I know, I know... not all Navy personnel are at sea, just like most of Air Force personnel are not up in the air. But a Navy is a very important force, and projects power in a very specific and important way. It cannot do this if it has to run pregnancy tests, the outcomes of which dictate preferential treatment, and incentivize behaviors in favor of one gender (one could argue both, but one is extremely temporary). We continue to believe we can outwit natural law. It's silly. There is disparate impact on men -- in manpower, consequences and risk. But no one cares about that, do we? It is natural to protect women... we just like to pretend we're sophisticated enough to say it doesn't matter. People learn that kind of nonsense in college.

No doubt the Navy provides abortions for women in military service. This makes pregnancy elective, all conscience considerations aside (please be clear: do NOT read this as endorsement, but as an option). What would be more interesting is to track those numbers (in the aggregate, of course) and how they relate to pregnancies around deployment schedules. If you are uncomfortable about such a query, check your premises... consider that you are living in an imaginary world that contradicts natural law. In the long run, you will lose. Would you rather accept your losses now, or in the future?

We must have women producing the next generation. They are the only ones who can do it. Gestation is 9 months, plus minimal maternity brings us to a year. One year. Does this female service make sense? Certainly combat doesn't make ANY sense.

Ares Olympus said...

Given "the Department of Labor have found that an organization achieves optimal performance when its workforce maintains at least 25 percent of whatever the minority sex might be."

The optimal answer appears to be 0% women or at least 25%. So one answer would be if you can't recruit to get to 25% women overall, its better to have some ships with no women at all (so other ships can reach their goal)

Of course given the praise of the new Wonder Woman movie, perhaps we should have some ships with up to 75% women, or even some with 100% women, and then we can really compare the sexes in collective performance. Why not?!

You might imagine, as James hints at, some ships may have to be designed to better fit within the upper body strength range for women. Still someone invented mechanical advantage at least 5000 years ago, so where there's a will, there's a way.

James said...

Maybe so Ares, but I assure everyone that if the military doesn't do it's job the consequences of losing make everything else irrelevant. Once you have lost the contest of war the only other choices that exist are slavery or death, there is no other viable recourse.

James said...

" Certainly combat doesn't make ANY sense." It never really does, but it has happened, is happening, and will happen. All of your points are good ones (you make some good ones also Ares), but it all means very little. Militaries have always been a strange and difficult thing for governments or societies to deal with. To be effective they also have to represent a mortal danger to their masters or employers. They therefore have always occupied a extra judicial place in all governments. They cannot be social engineering experiments or some sort of part of legitimate society. Well I've blabbed too long.

Robert Alexander said...

BLUF: It is time to end the FAILED coed command policy and return to gender separate commands.

I served five years on board an East Coast aircraft carrier, with my time ending in the 2000s; during this time I deployed to the Mediterranean thrice. I was a deck seaman, and by the time of my departure I advanced to the rank of second class petty officer. While my service is substantially different from that of the Marine- I honestly take my hat off to him and cheer him- I can directly attest to the dire (and very real) impacts of social engineering on the military at the division level, meaning at highly localized levels.

By the time I arrived for duty, the policy of co-ed commands, especially with women serving with men aboard the “flat tops”, had been in effect since 1994. No doubt, the brass of our chain of command, both on board the ship and in Washington DC, lauded this program as a stunning success story of gender inclusion. However, this is what I directly observed:

* Sexual encounters on board the ship in berthings and other darkened spaces (both in port, out to sea, and on deployment). And, on the third deployment, the captain did NOT hold these sailors, both men and women, accountable. The Love Boat was tolerated and tacitly encouraged.

* Within a year of our second deployment, I personally knew over 30 female sailors who left our ship due to pregnancies. Over 30 SAILORS possessing a variety of skills that then had to be urgently replaced, right before a major deployment. Our division lost six (6) females within SIX MONTHS of the second deployment. Another left two days prior, and one was flown off the ship one (1) week later.

And the thing is, there are no repercussions for skipping out on deployments for these sailors. No Page 13s, nothing- they get to avoid sea duty for up to a year. Is that acceptable? Is that a Fleet we want and deserve as a nation?

* Unequal physical and body standards between men and women. Meaning, my lowest PT scores would amount to average, or even great, standards for most female Sailors.

* Females sailors are granted 18 weeks of maternity leave (now lowered to 12 weeks since I left), whereas men only have 10 days.

* Overall, I arrived to a Fleet where men and women are treated extraordinarily differently. In order to benefit women, men were given the short end of the stick. Some equality, eh! This is not a strong culture for the military. This modern military would not have survived one month during World War Two. Camaraderie is dead, except for the bastions of the Special Forces.

Let me be absolutely clear: I am NOT stating that women should be booted from the service and denied entry into the military henceforth. Women have served honorably for decades in this nation’s military. What I am saying is that men and women should NEVER serve together, especially not in forward deployed bases and sea going ships. The temptation for sexual fraternization, sexual encounters, flirting, favoritism, and all other absolutely inappropriate behavior far outweighs the need for military units to be morphed into Boys and Girls Clubs.

In order to restore good order and discipline, we need to return to gender separate commands. To detractors of this idea, I say that women have proven themselves completely capable of holding their own and leading their own commands. They don’t need men to succeed in this modern military.

AesopFan said...

Why isn't the Navy mandating birth control for deployed women? That seems obvious to me.
There are plenty of methods, almost all of which are reliable enough for the purpose.
And presumably, any woman smart enough to serve in the fleet is smart enough to take a pill or find a doctor who can fit an IUD or whatever the current devices are.
The real forbidden subject is that many of them are getting pregnant on purpose.
Also unspoken is the fact that (for any combination of 2 reproducing human units) one or both of them may be married to someone else (very unlikely to be each other).
Didn't there used to be some rules about adultery in the Armed Forces (at least one celebrated case from the Eighties comes to mind.)