Hey, what’s the Navy’s biggest problem?

We're scrapping carriers, but our focus on sailors carrying children...

We’re scrapping carriers, but our focus on sailors carrying children…

As we recently told you, the Air Force woke up from a spending binge with a bad hangover and no sign of the computer system they spent over a billion dollars on. Not to be outdone, the navy woke up with a bad hangover — and pregnant.

The Stars and Stripes tells the tale of woe and morning sickness:

Facing a staggering 74 percent unintended pregnancy rate, the Navy has launched a family planning awareness and information campaign.

We know what that means: they’ll have lots of mandatory death-by-powerpoint briefings, the Armed Forces network will put “don’t get knocked up” PSAs in the rotation with the usual “stop beating your wife” PSAs, and the problem won’t get any better.

Actually, maybe the public service announcements worked, and when sailors stopped beating their sailor wives, next thing you know….

The Navy’s peer-mentoring program Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions is holding informational sessions on family planning throughout January covering topics that include parental leave, operational deferment and the best forms of birth control.

Nearly three-fourths of all Navy pregnancies were unplanned, according to a recent parenthood survey conducted by the service. Of those, only 31 percent of the couples were using birth control at the time they conceived. With pregnancies involving enlisted servicewomen, 70 percent of the fathers were also in the military.

We have to scrap boomers, but the admirals' worry is the baby boom aboard

We have to scrap boomers, but the admirals’ worry is the baby boom aboard

You might wonder why the Navy is so keen on pregnancy prevention. They’re not. This is a shot across the baby bump. as it were, for the next Administration initiative: abortion benefits for military servicewomen and wives (the NDAA authorizes abortion, but only for rape and incest cases. Extending this benefit to all servicewomen and all service spouses is a major DOD priority — much higher than, say, fighting the war). Let’s hear the next talking head tut-tut over the veritable monsoon of dropping infants:

“It is a very high number,” said Eleanor Schwarz, director of the Women’s Health Services Research Unit at the University of Pittsburgh. “It probably does point to a need to try to improve the situation.”

Of course, the “Women’s Health Services Reseatch Unit” promotes birth control and abortion. A couple months ago, Schwarz was promoting mandatory reporting of womens’ contraceptive decisions as a way to promote mandatory contraception counseling.

In the military, mandatory has another ring entirely.

As part of the awareness campaign, the Navy is highlighting the impact unplanned pregnancy can have on a servicemember’s career. A pregnant sailor can be disqualified from a sea duty position needed for career advancement. An unexpected spike in personal and financial responsibilities can also “jeopardize operational mission readiness,” and disrupt careers, according to the Navy news release on the awareness campaign.

via Navy seeks to combat high rate of unplanned pregnancies – News – Stripes.

Is there any way the Navy, or any service, could implement this without pressuring women on birth control, and, once the Administration has secured it as a benefit for the troops and their families, abortion?

As guys we’re neutral on the whole abortion thing, and we’re generally in favor of birth control. We just think the decision ought to be made by the woman, not her (or her husband’s) commanding officer.

And the idea that pregnant women are the Navy’s biggest problem… if anyone in the Navy spaces in the E Ring believes that, he’s gone full retard and needs to go to the one room on USS Boat where the Marines hold the key. Every single woman in the Navy could get knocked up tonight and take to her bed with complications tomorrow, and it wouldn’t hit the service as hard as budgetary reality is going to.

Yet they’re planning for Case A and not Case B.

3 thoughts on “Hey, what’s the Navy’s biggest problem?

  1. GBS

    It’s certainly not the Navy’s biggest problem, but I guarantee you there are afloat and even some shore-based CO’s that might list it in their top-three. Women weren’t assigned to squadrons and aircraft carriers during my first sea tour 20+ years ago, so regular interaction with Navy servicewomen didn’t happen until my subsequent assignment to a shore-based training squadron. It was VERY common to see unmarried female sailors get pregnant, and the subsequent months-long assignment to limited duty and professional oblivion that would follow. They took up space, both physically and on the manning document, but couldn’t do the heavy lifting and work with the icky chemicals that go along with maintenance and operations in an aviation squadron. Later, as women became a larger segment of those assigned to deploying ships and squadrons, getting pregnant meant not deploying, and the affected unit getting no replacement. Unlike the SF community, where people pull their weight or are directed towards other lines of work, regular Navy units must deal with what is assigned. Inevitably, those who remain must make up for the personal irresponsibility of others.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Interesting. Norplant ’em? (How’s that for a suggestion that would never fly… and would get me sentenced to the power-point reeducation replacement for keelhauling?)

      Having the luxury to get rid of duds is a special operations benefit. One of the very best reasons to go ARSOF, NSW, AFSOF etc., is that with each rung you climb up the tier ladder, your dud count goes down.

      A long time ago the commander of 1st Battalion, 11th Special Forces Group (now defunct), had the occasion to Article 15 (what the Navy would call Captain’s Mast, I think, or the Royal Navy Defaulters Parade) two NCOs who had stepped on their Johnsons rather publicly. Imagine the crisis when it was determined that nobody knew how to do it, what the regs were, or what DA or DD forms were required. Long-serving sergeants major could not remember an Article 15. Even the Staff Judge Advocate, who was the war-fighting kind of lawyer more than the ass-covering kind that has since replaced guys like him, didn’t have a good handle on it. Ultimately the two yardbirds were just thrown out of the unit.

      That’s actually a problem even in a USAR unit like that, because a future commander may get a dud with no paper indicating he’s a dud. (SF traditionally sucks at paperwork, everything from pay to awards is always a mess. Not all SOF units have this problem, some manage to have the same command emphasis on a good admin shop). In fact, another decade or so before that incident, that same battalion turned loose J. Keith Idema on the world (as an active duty SF unit did beforehand. At least three times the SF community failed to throw the book at a dud, and he ultimately embarrassed and shamed our regiment and our country).

      1. GBS

        A Navy CO who forgot how to do Captain’s Mast would be remarkable. Some try to use it as a remediation / leadership tool to bring around recalcitrant sailors. Others more properly put the burden on the wardroom and chief’s mess to actually lead, and only use Mast as a last resort for documentation and punishment prior to Administrative separation.

        The problem with the pregnant chicks wasn’t that they did anything in violation of the UCMJ, they were simply useless, and prevented anyone useFUL from taking their place. As a (still) young division officer in that shore-based training squadron, I was blessed with a no nonsense female CPO who proved invaluable when an open and frank “counseling” session with a junior female sailor became necessary. I even had a job years later where I could throw out the “duds”, including a female E-5 becoming a bit too aggressive with one of the newly arrived O-1s (who correctly came to me for help). Many of the women I served with at sea were good officers and sailors, but I saw just as many ruin themselves with inappropriate relationships.

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