America’s military leaders are creating a national security crisis by “prioritizing woke training over actual war fighting,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted Thursday.
Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL and one of four Republican lawmakers who commissioned a report examining the Navy’s culture and leadership, responded Thursday to a tweet from Sinclair Broadcast Group reporter James Rosen, who said the armed forces were at “a blinking red moment.”
“Unfortunately, the findings of our report aren’t surprising,” Crenshaw said. “We’ve known military leaders are prioritizing woke training over actual war fighting. It’s what we constantly hear from service members. It doesn’t make this any less concerning. It’s a threat to national security.”
The 22-page document, prepared by retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle and retired Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery and made public Tuesday, found “numerous cultural and structural issues that impact the morale and readiness of the Navy’s surface force.”
Those issues included “an insufficient focus on warfighting skills, the perception of a zero-defect mentality accompanied by a culture of micromanagement, and over-sensitivity and responsiveness to modern media culture.”
As one recently retired “senior enlisted leader” told the report’s authors: “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.”
“Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy,” said one 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.”
The investigation was precipitated by a series of accidents and mishaps, the most recent being the fire that forced the decommissioning of the USS Bonhomme Richard last year.
Other accidents mentioned in the report included the August 2017 collision between an oil tanker and the destroyer USS John S. McCain, which caused the deaths of 10 sailors, and a collision two months earlier between the destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a container ship, resulting in the deaths of seven sailors. Following the latter incident, the Fitzgerald’s top two senior officers and enlisted sailor were relieved of shipboard duty.
The report surveyed 77 current and former Navy personnel and found that 94 percent of them responded “yes” when asked if the setbacks “were part of a broader cultural or leadership problem in the Navy.”
“I believe the surface Navy, our destroyers and other surface combatant ships, need a cultural change,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), another of the lawmakers who commissioned the report, told Fox News Tuesday.
“Obviously, the Navy has a big and complex task,” Cotton added, “but the single biggest thing we have our surface Navy for is to be ready to fight and defeat the Chinese Navy, and right now, I have real doubts that the Navy has instilled the kind of war-fighting mentality that would allow us to accomplish that goal.”
Republicans have repeatedly accused defense agencies of pushing a “woke” worldview and being more concerned with diversity and domestic politics rather than the defense of the nation.
In February, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day “stand down” of the entire US military for commanders to address “extremism” in its ranks. A month earlier, during his confirmation hearings, Austin vowed to “rid our ranks of racists and extremists.”
Last month, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley defended the study of critical race theory, which teaches that America’s laws and institutions were based on a foundation of white supremacy, by saying that he wanted to “understand white rage.”
“I’ve read Karl Marx, I’ve read Lenin,” Milley added, “that doesn’t make me a Communist.”
In May, Cotton and Crenshaw launched a whistleblower tip line for active military members to report “woke ideology” within “diversity training” programs.
“We’ve received hundreds of whistleblower complaints about critical race theory being pushed on our soldiers,” Cotton tweeted last month. “The problem is real — and worse than we thought.”