Report shows US Navy is prepared for wokeness but not war fighting

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A nonpartisan congressional review, requested by Senator Tom Cotton, Reps Dan Crenshaw, Jim Banks, and Mike Gallagher, presents an alarming picture of the state of a navy concerned about wokeness but not warfighting.

The report is scathing, and reviewers believe the problem is systemic. The authors of the review conducted long-form interviews with 77 active-duty, retired or detached officers, and enlisted personnel about the culture of the United States Navy. This follows a series of high-profile and damaging operational failures in the Navy’s surface warfare community.

Concern within the Navy runs so high that, when asked whether incidents such as the two destroyer collisions in the Pacific, the surrender of a small craft to the IRGC in the Arabian Gulf, the burning of the Bonhomme Richard and other incidents were part of a broader cultural or leadership problem in the Navy, 94% of interviewees responded “yes,” 3% said “no,” and 3% said “unsure.”

When asked if the incidents were directly connected, 55% said “yes,” 16% said “no,” and 29% said “unsure.” This sentiment, that the Navy is in scandalously poor shape is widespread.

WOKE BUT NOT EFFECTIVE (A Politicized Navy)

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.”

Just as concerning is the assertion by interviewees that, when combat lethality and ship fighting are emphasized, they are treated in a box-checking manner that can seem indistinguishable from non-combat-related exercises. “The Navy treats warfighting readiness as a compliance issue,” said one career commander. “You might even use the term compliance-centered warfare as opposed to adversary-centered warfare or warfighter-centered warfare.”

One junior surface warfare officer, still on active duty, confessed “I don’t think that the [surface community] see themselves as people who are engaged in a fight.”

SPECIFIC ISSUES RAISED
  • Perhaps the most concerning comment and consistent observation amongst interviewees was that the service does not promote or advance surface ship warfighting in a meaningful way.
  • A prevalent theme emerged over the course of the interview process: near-universal disdain for the so-called “one mistake Navy,” the practice of treating certain errors with career termination and offering no opportunity for recovery.
  • The investment in surface warfare officer training pales in comparison to investments in aviation and submarine communities.
  • Nearly every interviewee had a story of a canceled, delayed, or drastically reduced major maintenance availability.
  • Concerns of micromanagement within the surface warfare community are alarming.
  • Sailors believe that Navy leaders are excessively reactive to an unyielding U.S. news cycle, and are unable to distinguish between stories that demand a response and stories that do not.
COMMENTS FROM CONGRESS

Senator Tom Cotton called the findings “very concerning” and said that American sailors are “too often deprived of the training and leadership they need to fight and win at sea.” A Navy that puts “lethality, warfighting, and operational excellence at the heart of its culture is absolutely essential to our national security,” Cotton stated.

“America counts on the Navy to keep us safe and keep our seas open,” Cotton added via Monday’s press release, vowing to work with the veterans who composed the report to implement the review’s multiple recommendations.

Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL officer, declared that the findings indicate that the nation’s sailors are not receiving the necessary training to perform the essential functions of the Navy: “to find and sink enemy fleets and ensure freedom of navigation.” He committed to collaborating with Navy leadership to implement changes to ensure that sailors are “war-ready and capable of defending” America.


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