Women should be allowed to serve aboard America's fleet of nuclear submarines, the nation's top military officer, Adm. Michael Mullen, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
If the Navy agrees to it, this would be a huge policy change and potentially a significant expansion of career opportunities for female officers and sailors.
Women have been barred by Navy policy from submarines, even as the sea service began 15 years ago to integrate females into other seagoing combat roles including aboard surface warships and in fighter jets.
Mullen, former chief of naval operations and a career surface warfare officer, made his position on submarines known in written responses to questions from the committee to prepare for Mullen's confirmation hearing to serve a second two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
"As an advocate for improving the diversity of our force, I believe we should continue to broaden opportunities for women. One policy I would like to see changed is the one barring their service aboard submarines," Mullen told senators.
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