By Brent Ramsey, STARRS member, CAPT, USN (Ret), NROTC ‘69
Senator Cotton and Congressmen Banks, Crenshaw, and Gallagher commissioned an investigation recently to examine “The Fighting Culture of the United States Navy Surface Fleet”. The investigation was carried out by Lt Gen Robert E. Schmidle, USMC (Ret), and RADM Montgomery, USN (Ret). They report diversity compliance is a major resource drain and an impediment to fleet readiness. From the report:
“Sailors increasingly see administrative and non-combat related training as the mission, rather than the mission itself. “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 lieutenant currently on active duty. “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.”
“Frustration with nonessential training was found to be overwhelming and not limited to the surface warfare community. Navy leaders have contributed to a morass of requirements, but so have senior civilian defense leadership and Congress. 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 in-boxes, 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.”
“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.”
The investigation looked at recent Navy failures which have been frequent, troubling, and have led to loss of life, erosion of confidence in the Navy, and to the utter destruction of one the Navy’s amphibs, the USS Bonhomme Richard which burned pier-side in San Diego July of last year. The ship was only halfway through its life span and as a result of the catastrophic damage done by the fire was stricken and scrapped costing the Navy billions. The Navy’s current estimate to replace the ship is over $4B, money the Navy does not have.
That the above striking observations were made by such senior and objective volunteer investigators with impeccable credentials and out of a desire for what’s best for the Navy, and who weren’t focused on the subject of diversity, is troubling about the Navy leadership and priorities.
While the Navy seems to accept at face value that it has racism problems, volumes of research point to a different explanation altogether. Peer review studies show that minorities in America are just as successful on average as whites if just three factors are present. One, finish high school. Two, have full time employment of any type even entry level. Three, marry before having children. If a young Black or Hispanic or any other ethnicity American does just these three things, opportunity in our great land opens up to all, including serving in the Navy at any level.
Prior to recent political influence on the military, DoD carefully assessed internally conditions associated with alleged racism or white supremacy in the service and found that less than 2% of serving members or employees identified racism or white supremacy as a problem. Any racism or white supremacy is unacceptable. However, readily available data as to what constitutes a problem internally should drive policy and resource allocation, not politics or pop culture memes.
In our view, the Navy pursuing arbitrary demographic standards and adopting the language of CRT has gone off course. TF1N is a tremendous waste of resources that the Navy can ill afford. The GAO has recently documented that the services including the Navy have severe readiness problems.
The Congressionally chartered study done by Lt Gen Schmidle and RADM Montgomery regarding the surface Navy raises legitimate questions about the Navy’s judgement, leadership, and resource allocation decision-making.
It’s time for citizens to hold the Navy accountable for its poor judgment in embracing CRT, its poor leadership in establishing TF1N, and its lack of focus on ships and readiness.
The Navy appears to be adrift. The real enemy that every sailor, including the CNO, should be focused on, every hour, every day, is the People’s Republic of China. The CCP has boldly announced they are coming for us. Our Navy is not ready! To all appearances, its top priority is dubious personnel policy and practice instead of focusing on creating warriors and putting lethal ships to sea.
Brent Ramsey is a retired naval officer, writer, and volunteer. His articles/commentary on national defense have appeared at Real Clear Defense, National Defense, the Center for International Maritime Security, United States Naval Institute Proceedings, the Association of the United States Navy, and CD Media
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