As Navy leaders left another conference behind, one thing that emerged from the Surface Navy Association panels and discussions this week was an emphasis on the strength and capability of sailors — a shift that seems part of an effort to boost recruiting and push back against a growing political narrative.
The service and other military branches have become “woke.” Or at least that is an increasingly common message from politicians and pundits on the right who claim the military has weakened itself by adopting policies that support or encourage diversity and inclusion. Now that a Republican-controlled House has been seated, lawmakers are likely to intensify the grilling of military leaders over these policies.
The Navy’s top officer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday, told an auditorium full of people at the annual conference in Arlington, Virginia, that his sailors are the opposite of weak, that they are “doing some pretty amazing things.” . . . .
. . .As Gilday continued in his remarks, he moved into another topic that hinted at the reason behind the shift — recruiting. After saying that he hasn’t heard any concerns on weakness from sailors, the admiral explained that key influencers such as “mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, teachers, school administrators” need to see a positive side of the Navy.
Gilday has familiarity with taking heat over efforts to add more diversity into the Navy. His inclusion of Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” on his 2021 reading list became a major talking point among critics. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., a Navy Reserve officer, wrote a letter to Gilday claiming the book would undermine morale and threaten national security.
However, much of the criticism has been far less specific and instead slammed the military for policies that either ease decades-old restrictions or aim to make service easier. For example, Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, cited policies such as lifting the ban on transgender service members or HIV-positive troops being allowed to deploy as “the chief worry of grizzled American veterans today.”
Former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo cited the military’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate and efforts to combat discrimination along gender and racial lines as the reason “America [is] less safe” in an editorial he wrote for Fox News.
The problem the Navy — and every other military branch — finds itself in, however, is that the young generation of people they want and desperately need to join does not appear to buy into the narrative that the military is under threat from those ideas.
Capt. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Navy’s recruiting command, told Military.com in a phone interview Tuesday that the research they’ve done shows that “17- to 24-year-olds, our primary demographic … values organizations that embrace and model — and not just give lip service to but model — diversity, equity and inclusion.” . . . . (read more on Military.com)
Why Only 16% of Gen Z Are Proud to Be an American, and What We Should Do About It (Daily Signal, 12 Jan 23)
Only 16% of Gen Zers are “proud” to live in the United States.
That finding comes from a recent Morning Consult poll, which assessed generational attitudes about the United States. The poll shows that there has been roughly a 20-percentage-point drop of pride in country every generation since the Baby Boomers, 73% of whom express pride in the country.
The net shares of each generation who say they are proud to live in the United States:
Baby Boomers: 73
Gen X: 54
Gen Z: 16
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) January 9, 2023
It’s hard to ignore the reality and the trend. With each passing generation, there’s less connection to country and less patriotism. With this comes enormous—and likely terrible—implications.
First, for those insistent on upholding the “liberal international order,” as some call it, that’s going to be hard to do when so few people are willing to support or defend even their own nation. It also should come as no surprise that the military is having a recruitment crisis. Could you imagine what would happen if we had to reinstate the draft?
Second, with less attachment to country, there will be fewer things to bind people together in a society that is now ruthlessly sorting out ideologically. . . . (read more)