By Capt. Brent Ramsey, USN ret
STARRS Board of Advisors
According to widely accepted research including that of the military services themselves, organizations that are effective have common values, teamwork, unity, cohesion, and a shared vision of what it takes to be successful. The literature is full of training that stresses these values.
DOD as required by Congress does annual surveys to determine how things are going. The very first question asked in the 2022 survey is about cohesion!
The second question asked is about connectiveness. The third question is about engagement and commitment. The fourth question is about fairness.
Despite these known factors, and despite the urgent problems that threaten the Navy’s ability to perform its mission, what appear to be the Navy’s priorities?
What we see is a leadership obsessed by race and politics that only serve to divide people into categories of skin color or gender or sexual preference.
Emphasis on race and politics is a recipe for division and disunity, not the traits that lead to effective organizations.
STARRS has recently published hundreds of testimonies from serving and retired Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines expressing their opposition to the identity politics ideology that now is widespread in the military. Those accounts can be found at STARRS.
Examples abound of things the Navy does that creates a lack of unity and cohesion.
The Secretary of the Navy gave a speech recently celebrating the naming of the USS Evans for a native American. The officer honored in the naming was indeed a native American. But, that had absolutely nothing to do with his heroic behavior as the Commanding Officer of a ship during WWII.
He enlisted in the Navy and performed so well such that he earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. After commissioning he served in a variety of positions successfully up until the start of WWII and during the war, he was given the command of the USS Johnston, a Destroyer Escort.
He performed exceptionally and heroically, giving his life for his country, like many brave Navy heroes before him and his race was irrelevant to his actions.
To politicize the event with the emphasis all on his being native American and to have as the keynote speaker a Biden administration native American official turned an occasion for honoring an American hero into a political story for identity politics. This does a disservice to CDR Evans’ memory.
The Secretary of the Navy announced recently that one of his top priorities is fighting climate change.
All the measures being implemented by the Navy in this misguided campaign against climate change have no operational impact but have cost implications for the Navy, i.e., they cost the Navy more for fuel or for other mitigation measures intended to reduce the Navy’s carbon footprint.
US officials have admitted that even if the entire US’s emissions went to zero, an impossibility, there would be a zero impact on climate change.
US’s emissions represent a tiny fraction of the world’s emissions so what the US does on its own makes no difference.
Climate change is a political issue and should not be a focus of the Navy.
There is no credible evidence whatsoever that how the Navy operates today is any different than it has operated in its over 200 years of existence due to the climate.
Storms are not more frequent or severe. The Navy operates all over the world despite any minor changes in the climate.
To emphasize climate change is introducing politics into the military and adds not a whit to the execution of the mission.
Furthermore, if fighting climate change was a top priority, why is mitigating climate change less than .4% of the Navy’s budget? It is clear this is injecting politics into the Navy.
I do not oppose gays serving in the military. Many have served honorably and faithfully. However, the celebration of Pride month is a mistake and distraction.
The Navy for the 12th consecutive year devoted an entire month to celebrating LGBTQI+ Pride.
For Christian sailors (or close to 70% of the Navy according to a 2019 study done by the Congressional Research Service), that is sure not a fun month inspiring unity.
What one’s sexual preferences are should have nothing to do with being a sailor.
To celebrate sexual orientation including increasingly more rare proclivities that many believe are against their beliefs, is unwise and does nothing to ensure unity and a ready and lethal Navy.
What does LGBTQI+ mean? L stands for lesbian. G stands for gay. B stands for bi-sexual. T stands for transgender. Q stands for queer. I stands for Intersex (whatever that means?).
Take note of the + at the end of the Pride initials. That + indicates that anything goes.
Note the progression in this sequence. It glorifies ever smaller and outside of the mainstream categories of people based on their sexual practices.
How does this emphasis on what people do in private and with whom, make the Navy more ready?
The modern phenomenon of an overweening attention to sexual preferences and practices is never-ending and not healthy.
For a Navy whose mission is outwardly focused and based on sacrifice for the good of others, this attention to and even forced celebration of individual preferences and practices is a distraction and an aggrandizement of individualism, the opposite of what the Navy should want of its sailors.
With a huge majority of the Navy being both heterosexual and Christian, to draw attention to sexual practices borders on irrational as it distracts from the mission and upsets many who are straight.
You want to know why a traditional strong source of recruiting, that of Christians, is drying up….this is part of the reason.
The Navy should discontinue celebrating “pride.” It just creates friction and dissatisfaction among many who are already serving and discourages others from joining.
The Naval Academy is hiring a Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies. For decades the Navy promoted STEM (the S in STEM stands for science).
Gender and Sexuality Studies hardly qualifies as settled science.
What does teaching highly speculative and controversial gender and sexuality theories to midshipmen have to do with creating the warriors that the Navy needs to win the nation’s wars?
PROMOTION OF CLIQUES
Naval personnel while on duty dress the same in “the uniform of the day.”
Yet, at the Naval Academy we find the phenomenon of 19 affinity groups whose membership is exclusive based on arbitrary human characteristics such as skin color or ethnicity or sexual preference.
If uniformity is the goal why the promotion of cliques of people based on arbitrary characteristics that have nothing to do with qualifications or skill sets?
The Naval Academy recently hosted its annual Diversity conference. Yet, most of those attending were minorities. Why is that?
And, if the purpose of the conference was diversity why was the attendance limited to invited guests?
When a member of Calvert Group (an alumni group formed for the express purpose of supporting the USNA and its traditional values and upholding the Constitution) tried to register to attend, he was told the conference was closed and invited guests only were allowed to attend.
Why was the Diversity conference devoid of diversity of thought?
DIVERSITY OFFICE NOT DIVERSE
The Naval Academy has an office of Diversity and Inclusion consisting of 5 people.
If diversity is a priority, why are all the people in this office black?
The Naval Academy is already extremely diverse with hundreds of female and minority midshipmen. According to UNIVSTATS.com for the 2022-2023 class year the enrollment at USNA is as follows:
As the figures above prove, the Naval Academy is already tremendously diverse. There is only a tiny variance between the above statistics to national racial or ethnic demographics.
So, why devote the manpower and financial resources to staffing a Diversity office at the Naval Academy?
The Naval Academy is the premier commissioning source for naval officers and Marine Corps officers. Admission to the academy is highly selective and USNA brags about its ranking as one of the top universities in the nation.
Why are detailed selection criteria for admission to the Naval Academy a secret?
As an institution paid for by tax dollars in a Constitutional Republic, doesn’t the public have a right to know how the academy is operated and what admission criteria is being used to select midshipmen?
Evidence that this is the situation is backed up by the fact that Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) has filed a lawsuit against USNA alleging that they unlawfully use the racial preferences in admissions.
According to SFFA, the academy “openly admits that race is a factor” in its admissions decisions.
How in good conscience can the Navy rely on racial preferences in USNA admissions in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in the Harvard v. SFFA and UNC v. SFFA cases that the use of racial preferences is a violation of law and is to be terminated?
Chief Justice Roberts in his concurrence to the SFFA v. Harvard University and UNC cases wrote, “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”
There is a Navy wide proliferation of Diversity staffs at every level of command all over the Navy. At every Navy website, Diversity programs are one of the first things you see. Every organization has diversity staff and programs.
Despite evidence that the focus on DEI is detrimental to the mission, retention, and recruiting, the Navy is doubling down.
For example, selection board criteria for officer selections were just made public. Those selection criteria contain guidance emphasizing diversity and equity.
Does the emphasis on diversity and equity undermines the concept of merit?
If this criterion results in less qualified members being promoted to higher grades, the Navy will see the results in terms of declining readiness, morale, retention, war-fighting effectiveness.
Will future leaders selected based on diversity and equity be able to help win the nation’s wars?
TRAINED TO BE A UNIFIED TEAM
For the Navy to be successful, teamwork and cohesion must be paramount.
A unique concept has been at work for centuries and that concept is that of “shipmates”. The concept is explored in depth in my article Shipmates: A Dying Breed.
In a ship at sea, going in harm’s way impacts every sailor in the exact same way. If the ship sinks, everyone’s life is at risk.
That is why in bootcamp, sailors are trained the way they are….to be part of a team.
Everyone is treated the same…the same uniform, the same berthing accommodations, the same chow, the same training.
You are trained to have your shipmate’s back and he or she has yours. Your race, your ethnicity, your gender, your sexual preference does not mean a thing.
When aboard ship you will be a cog in a vast and complicated machine and every cog needs to concentrate on its part, its duty to keep the ship safe and functioning. Individualism goes out the window.
The only thing important is to be an effective part of the team to keep the ship safe and to allow the ship to complete its mission. Unity of thought and behavior is paramount.
The needs of the ship and safe navigation come first or lives are threatened.
For the Navy to emphasize race and ethnicity through its Diversity and Equity ideology is a big mistake as it erodes the concept of a shipmate.
CAPT Brent Ramsey, (USN, ret.) is a writer on Defense matters. He has been featured in Washington Examiner, Real Clear Defense, Armed Forces Press, CD Media, American Thinker, and Patriot Post. He is a Vice President with the Calvert Group, a Board of Advisors member for the Center for Military Readiness and STARRS, and a member of the Military Advisory Group for Congressman Chuck Edwards (NC-11).
Also read by Capt. Ramsey: