U.S. Navy Focuses More On Wokeness than War: Congressional Report

A GOP congressional committee found that the Navy’s top brass is more concerned about political correctness and diversity training than it is about fighting winning wars.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The report was commissioned by Republican lawmakers on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and ordered by Army veteran Sen. Tom Cotton (AR), Navy reservist Rep. Jim Banks (IN), Navy SEAL veteran Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX), and Marine veteran Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI).
  • The committee report was written by Marine Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert E. Schmidle and Navy Rear Adm. (Ret.) Mark Montgomery.
  • After 77 in-depth interviews with sailors of different ranks and duties, the report found that their frustration with non-essential training was “overwhelming.”
  • It showed the Navy’s drift towards a culture of careerism, political correctness, and risk aversion than training its sailors on how to fight and win, according to Breitbart News.
  • The report also revealed that sailors are feeling undertrained to face a 21st-century conflict with China and attested to a Navy less focused on warfighting than it is on compliance training.
  • It went on to criticize the Navy for overreacting to news media.
  • And the report concluded with a warning that “major peer-level conflict” in the 21st Century will “likely proceed swiftly and not permit significant time for organizational learning once it is underway.”
WHAT THE REPORT SAID:
  • The report said that “While programs to encourage diversity, human sex trafficking prevention, suicide prevention, sexual assault prevention, and others are appropriate, they come with a cost. The non-combat curricula consume Navy resources, clog inboxes, create administrative quagmires, and monopolize precious training time.”
  • “By weighing down sailors with non-combat-related training and administrative burdens, both Congress and Navy leaders risk sending them into battle less prepared and less focused than their opponents,” it went on to say.
HOW SAILORS FEEL:
  • “Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy,” lamented one female active-duty lieutenant. “It’s criminal. They think my only value is as a black woman. But you cut our ship open with a missile and we’ll all bleed the same color,” she added.
  • “I guarantee you every unit in the Navy is up to speed on their diversity training. I’m sorry that I can’t say the same of their ship handling training,” said one recently enlisted sailor who criticized the his leadership’s lack of emphasis on teaching basic operational skills.
  • Another commander said that “The Navy treats warfighting readiness as a compliance issue,” adding, “You might even use the term compliance-centered warfare as opposed to adversary-centered warfare or warfighter-centered warfare.”
  • “I’ve never heard anyone in any [congressional] testimony that I can think of that talks about actually winning. And so that’s not to absolve the Navy of its responsibility, but it’s just stunning to me,” said one career surface warfare officer.
BACKGROUND:
  • The congressional report comes after a string of serious naval accidents: the deadly collision of two destroyers at sea, the surrender of a small craft to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Arabian Gulf, and a fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego.
  • Navy leadership has been questioned by Cotton and Banks on diversity training in recent week. At one hearing, Cotton questionined why the Navy’s top officer put anti-racist activist Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist on his recommended reading list for sailors instead of a book on seafaring.
WHAT THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
  • The report made several major recommendations including prioritizing warfighting and getting “politics and media out of the wardroom.”
  • It suggested, “Renew the Navy’s noble tradition of remaining out of politics. Limit social media accounts and activities by Navy officials, discourage use of toxic platforms by sailors, remove all political and sociological topics from Professional Military Education and replace them with essential warfighting courseware. Modernize public affairs training.”
  • It also recommended Navy leadership “Eliminate distractions. Institute a review to identify and reduce bureaucratic excess, nonessential communications, and unnecessary administrative burdens. Aim to create white space on calendars that can instead be used for training, doctrine, and warfighting fundamentals.”