- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Defense Department has moved to lift a decades-old policy that prohibits women from serving aboard U.S. Navy submarines.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress in a letter signed Friday that the Navy intends to repeal the ban on female sailors on subs.

At issue is the end of a policy that kept women from serving aboard the last type of ship off-limits to them. The thinking was that the close quarters aboard subs would make service by both sexes difficult to manage.

Congress has 30 days to weigh in.

A defense official told the Associated Press that numerous physical changes to submarines would have to be made but that cadets who graduate from the Naval Academy this year could be among the first Navy women to take submarine posts.

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