Washington, DC - The Navy has opened a voluntary online survey to all female enlisted Sailors to understand the level of interest among women to serve aboard submarines.

A Navy task force was formed last summer to develop options for integrating enlisted women into the submarine force. The survey results will be used to help guide ongoing planning efforts.

"We seek input from professional women Sailors throughout our Navy, even if they aren't interested in serving aboard submarines," said Rear Adm. Ken Perry, a career submariner who leads the task force. "Responses to the survey questions will help shape future Navy policy and are key to getting the integration right."

Perry emphasized that all survey responses will remain anonymous. "I value honest input. Give it to us straight. All responses will remain anonymous, period," he said.

Female Sailors can access the online survey by logging on the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System commonly known as NSIPS. Once logged on, personnel can follow these steps:

- Locate the "Employee Self Service" link in the column on the left side of the page titled "Menu."
- Expand the "Employee Self Service" link options.
- Then expand the options under the "Electronic Service Record" link.
- Click the "Tasks" link.
- Then click the "Survey Requests" link.

The survey will be visible under the "Pending Surveys" window if these steps are followed.

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. It is scheduled to remain open through the spring.

The submarine force is developing plans to integrate enlisted women following the Secretary of Defense's rescission of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment rule last year. All positions currently closed to women are to be opened by January 2016 unless granted an exception by the Defense Secretary.

Today's submarine force includes 72 nuclear-powered submarines located among seven homeports in the Atlantic and Pacific regions.

The submarine force began integrating female officers into ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarine crews in 2011. Many have since earned submarine qualifications and completed a number of strategic deterrent patrols and missions in multiple theaters of operation.