Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pianist Submarine CO

How many non-USNA submarine CO candidates will have CDR Rhinehart's qualifications? All the quicker to make an opportunity to have first female submarine CO.

APRIL 14, 2011 - Forty-one year old Cmdr. Richard E. Rhinehart Jr relieved Cmdr. Wes Schlauder as CO of USS North Carolina (SSN 777) on board the sub at Pearl Harbor.

Here's what is news: Cmdr. Rhinehart is not an United States Naval Academy (USNA) graduate.

Why is something so mundane even news? Over the past 28 months, the overwhelming majority of submarine COs relieved of duty for loss of confidence in their ability command have been graduates of other than the USNA. It has been speculated that one factor in such wholesale housecleaning within a very small unit of the navy (less than 40,000 sailors and support people) is the desire of the SECNAV and his admirals to create reform the historical environment of male chauvinism to the biased culture enforced by the USNA's honor code [Unwritten Navy Policy or Merely a Pattern (March 17, 20100)].

Does this mean such speculation is wrong? Not at all. Look at the facts: Rhinehart is very unusual, he was even an Eagle Scout, an extremely rare attainment in today's teenage society.

Well, that still seems fairly thin logic; is there anything else? Yes, among the 45 female officers initially selected for assignment to subs (24 billets) are a small percentage who are NOT USNA graduates. The Navy does not know how many of the initial 24 assigned will actually complete enough naval service to qualify for submarine command, nor whether the most successful candidates for command might be USNA or non-USNA women. The assignment of Rhinehart assures opportunity for female command of a submarine without risking the traditional environment of non-politically correct openness between officers and men once considered unique and fundamental to submarine safety and effectiveness.

In order to fulfill the political agenda of attracting female volunteers to vessels with spartan facilities and comforts, the Navy must have a female role model to command of a submarine ASAP. Otherwise, high attrition will eliminate the first 24, the recruiting pipeline will falter, and the social shoehorn will be an obvious disaster writ all over with the names of admirals.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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