WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Defense, assignment policy changes affecting the assignment of Navy women to formerly closed positions will be implemented May 14.
The changes will open an additional 14,325 positions to women across the Department of Defense. Of those positions, the Navy will open 60 medical officer, chaplain, chief hospital corpsman and hospital corpsman first class positions for the assignment of women in Marine Corps ground combat element battalions.
The 60 new Navy positions open to the assignment of women include 18 medical officer positions, 19 chaplain officer positions, and 23 chief and petty officer first class hospital corpsman positions.
The changes to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, announced Feb. 9 in a report to Congress, could not be implemented without a Congressionally-mandated notification period, which has now expired.
A second change adopted in the exception addresses former co-location restrictions. When implemented, occupations will no longer be closed to women solely because the positions are required to be co-located with direct ground combat units. However, elimination of the co-location exclusion has no impact to the Navy, as current policy does not restrict the assignment of women based on co-location.
Currently, 95 percent of Navy billets are open to women. The five percent of closed billets include submarines for enlisted women, and SEALs, Riverine squadrons and Marine Corps support in compliance with direct ground combat rule.
"The secretary of defense has said this is the beginning, not the end, of a process," said Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney. "The department intends to continue to remove barriers that prevent service members from serving in any capacity in which they qualify."
"The Navy has always been committed to pursuing the elimination of gender-restricted policies where feasible while maintaining force readiness," said Lt. Maura Betts, director of the Office of Women's Policy.
For more information about women in the Navy, visit www.npc.navy.mil/AboutUs/BUPERS/WomensPolicy/.
To view the previously released report to Congress, visit http://www.defense.gov/news/WISR_Report_to_Congress.pdf.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.