The Navy’s near-universally reviled decision to change its entire job title system to fulfill the mandate of gender neutrality was pioneered by an official about to retire, and only announced after he had already left the service.
Then-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens led a working group in the summer of 2015 to implement gender neutrality in the job title system, an effort pushed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Navy Times reports.
“I felt it was not optional, but my duty to lead this effort, knowing all along that there would be controversy attached to it,” Stevens said of the title system switch.
With the change in place, Stevens thinks that Navy officials “must follow through.”
But sailors aren’t convinced of the necessity of this change, and this outrage has culminated in a White House petition to reverse the policy. At this point in time, the petition has garnered 70,600 signatures out of a required 100,000.
“For 241 Years Navy personnel have been identified by their Job specialty, known as a “Rating,”” the petition reads. “The oldest rates such as Boatswain Mates, and Gunners Mate predate the founding of this country. Being known by your job title was a sense of pride. A sign of accomplishment. The Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations just senselessly erased this tradition. One only has to visit Navy social media pages to see the disgust and outrage of current and former personnel.”
A retired Navy admiral who spoke to the Navy Times under condition of anonymity echoed the petition’s sentiments.
“My questions are: Why now, and was this merely an attempt by SECNAV in a political year to rush an important personnel initiative to the forefront for some sort of political or personal legacy gain?” the admiral said. “Our brilliant sailors, male and female, should not be pawns for political agendas.”
Sources told Navy Times that Mabus was determined to push the change through while he still could under the Obama administration, despite the fact that numerous leaders wanted more time.
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