The one weakness in the Navy though has been the fact that few will openly discuss the real problems that this poses for leadership, medical, and family services.
Women, thank goodness, are not men. I don't know about you - but I wish this Page 13 was used in the commands I was in.
Big Navy has forced this CO to do this. I watched over my entire career Sailors with critical NECC have to stop working when they got pregnant - and no replacements sent unless a sister Command could help. The other sailors holding that NECC had to work even harder. Not fair to the Command or the Sailors. No action taken because the topic was toxic.
May this CO get all the top-cover he needs ... and no - I will not divulge the CO or Command, for obvious reasons.
COMMANDING OFFICER’S POLICY ON SEA DUTY PREGNANCY1. WE ARE A TEAM.
a. Interpersonal relationships of a sexual nature between members of this command create conditions which run counter to good order and discipline. This does not promote teamwork.
b. These kinds of relationships, and relationships outside of this command, when resulting in the pregnancy and transfer of an Active Duty member of this command, adversely impact the mission effectiveness of this command through, at a minimum, increased workload to those members remaining in the command.
c. Pregnancy remains a medical condition, and will be treated as such by this command. However, with rare exception, pregnancy is also a direct result of actions among personnel which fall under those members’ direct control. Actions taken by members of this command which reduce our mission effectiveness are choices which can reflect poor judgment and/or a lack of self-control, and always reflect the subjugation of the needs of the team to the selfish desires of the individual.
d. Active Duty personnel whose actions reduce our mission effectiveness will be, at a minimum, counseled on the adverse impacts of their actions on this team. This counseling will not be gender-specific, but will include all involved parties as available.
2. INTERPRETATION OF NAVY POLICY.
a. The Navy Equal Opportunity (EO) Policy, as defined in OPNAVINST 5354.1F, paragraph (4a), states that, “Sailors and civilians who model Navy Core Values do not engage in negative behaviors nor condone these actions in others. Additionally, these practices adversely affect good order and discipline, unit cohesion, mission readiness, and prevent our Navy from attaining the highest level of operational readiness.”
b. Obligations of command leadership, as defined in OPNAVINST 5354.1F, paragraph (4b), require commands to “… create, shape and maintain a positive EO environment through policy, communication, training, education, enforcement and assessment.”
c. OPNAVINST 5354.1F, paragraph (6a) and (6b), states that “Servicemembers shall be evaluated only on individual merit, fitness and capability,” and that “the focus [of EO] is on the detriment to good order and discipline, unit cohesion and military readiness that results when our Navy’s Core Values are not adhered to…”
d. The transfer of pregnant personnel from sea duty, in order to ensure their safety from hazardous materials and conditions and guarantee their access to adequate medical care, requires gender discrimination and recognizes a degradation in that servicemember’s fitness and capability to perform required duties. This discrimination, while lawful, runs contrary to Navy EO Policy in that it adversely affects good order and discipline, degrades unit cohesion, and detracts from mission readiness.
e. As Commanding Officer, I am charged ensuring a positive EO environment. The transfer of pregnant personnel from this command degrades that environment and increases perceptions of special treatment based upon gender. Personnel responsible for degrading our mission effectiveness or our positive EO environment in this way will be held accountable for their actions, as determined on a case-by-case basis.
By my signature below, I acknowledge receipt of this policy and further understand that any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary/administrative action.
Update: Here you go folks. From a mid-grade female officer known to your host and of the best pedigree. Ahem.
First off, as a woman and as a sailor I can tell you I have 100% no issue with a policy like this...in theory. The CO is absolutely right. Pregnancy does have an undeniable impact on mission readines. Women need to accept responsibility that, like it or not, fair or not, we are the ones stuck carrying the baby. And we need to own some responsibility for that.
I myself am facing this dillema as I most certainly do want children in the near future, but I have also taken a pretty high speed billet and know that pregnancy at this time in my career is just not practical, and so I am looking at follow on tours at a shore command or PG school options. (I am not considering the career intermission because I object to it on principle...I've also looked into the option of retrofitting the daddy-to-be with a sea horse incubation pouch, but modern science has failed me...YET AGAIN).
I agree with the CO 100% in theory that an operational community should be able to, in the interests of good order and dicipline, deal with things that are adverse. Alcoholism is a disease, but we can adsep people for alcohol treatment failure. Personality disorders are medical conditions, but we can adsep for that. Hell we can (and actually must) adsep for insulin cpontrolled diabetes.
So why are we so afraid of pregnancy, an albeit temporary medical condition?
A couple of reasons. Fisrt, the Supreme Court in all its wisdom has declared that procreation is a fundamental right. So if you begin adsepping people over a "fundamental right" you are going to run into problems with people who will perceive it as a attempt to slice away at Roe v. Wade. And we all know how well that goes over.
Second this WILL lead to false rape allegations, especially with the loose statutory wording of Article 120. Mark my words, this policy will up the number of sexual assault sitreps in the vicinity of 2-3 months after intercourse. A smart male sailor under this policy would get a written consent waiver any time he sleeps with another sailor...but then, he's also now documented his own potential orders violation. Conundrum.
It's a challenging situation. Again, I completely agree with the CO in principle, but the execution without running afoul of Equal Protection will be a bitch, even with the most well intentioned CO.
Frankly, I've been arguing for mandatory birth control for all forward deployed/sea duty sailors as a condition of acceptance of orders, but I KNOW that ain't gonna happen.