The secretary and the Navy, the chief of naval operations and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff each commented on a commitment to bringing women onto submarines, but have not announced a timetable, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
"When I joined, we couldn't go to sea; we didn't have command; there were no lady admirals. It kind of evolved over the years I was in the Navy," Rear Adm. Ronne Froman said.
Froman retired in 2001 after a 31-year career that led her to become one of the Navy's highest-ranking women.
After Congress repealed the prohibition against women in most combat positions the Navy allowed women in aviation and surface-ship assignments but continued the ban on women on submarines, citing tight quarters and lack of privacy.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead is responsible for creating integrated submarine crews. He commanded a surface ship with a crew made up of both genders.
"Accommodations are a factor but not insurmountable," Roughead said. "This has had and will continue to have my personal attention as we work toward increasing the diversity of our Navy, afloat and ashore."