No, they’re not giving away Big Bang Theory cast members when people join the US Navy (We’ll take two Pennys and a Sheldon, please) but they are creating a custom device for use in submarines called the NeRD. The title stands for Navy eReader Device and it’s intended for submarines only at the moment.
The custom eReader is being made with no ports of any kind and they’re stripping out any sort of connectivity, since having WiFi or data connections active when running silent can put a bit of a crimp in any sub captain’s day. The lack of ports means that users won’t be able to load any content to the device but that also means that they can’t be hacked, potentially exposing US military units to various nasties.
Instead, the eReaders will be pre-loaded with books and a total of five per submarine are planned at first, to give sailors something to read while on board. Consumer eReaders are currently banned on subs, for the reasons mentioned above, and it’s pretty hard to keep a library stocked when every kilogram counts.
The BBC reports that the NeRD will eventually be making its way to “…to all vessels in the active fleet”, citing Navy General Library Program manager Nellie Moffitt for the information.