A new report for Congress, prepared by retired naval officers Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle and Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, at the behest of Republican legislators, claims the United States Navy is an “institution adrift,” is not prepared for war, and is struggling through a “crisis” of woke leadership, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The report, commissioned by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (AR), and Reps. Mike Gallagher (WI), Dan Crenshaw (TX), and Jim Banks (IN) was designed to uncover whether the ongoing efforts to improve “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) training was affecting military readiness — and whether the DEI efforts were impeding the duty of the United States Military.
“The impetus for the report was a series of recent catastrophes—a ship burning in San Diego last year; two destroyer collisions in the Pacific in 2017,” WSJ noted, adding that the legislators were concerned that “larger institutional issues that are degrading the performance of the entire naval surface force.”
The two retired naval officers “conducted long-form interviews with numerous active-duty and recently retired or detached officers and enlisted personnel about their insights into the culture of the United States Navy following a series of high-profile and damaging operational failures in the Navy’s Surface Warfare community.”
Among the key findings: “Many sailors found their leadership distracted, captive to bureaucratic excess, and rewarded for the successful execution of administrative functions,” rather than for their readiness for combat, per WSJ.
“I guarantee you every unit in the Navy is up to speed on their diversity training,” one “recently retired senior enlisted leader” reportedly told the outlet. “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,” one “anonymous active-duty lieutenant” told investigators per Fox News.
The report added that the Navy does not spend enough time or money on training its surface warfare officers, leaving its war rooms “ill-prepared.” The Navy’s deployments are too long, the report noted, risking efficiency, and commanding officers are trained to be “risk-averse,” because of a culture of “brutal accountability” for administrative decisions.
Retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery spoke about the report to Fox News on Wednesday, blasted the Navy’s apparent lack of preparedness, and suggested that relative peacetime has made the Navy a bureaucracy rather than a fighting force.
Montgomery “noted that there were ‘suspicions’ of ‘underinvestment in officer training and under-resourced ship maintenance,’ however, ‘what we didn’t know was how perceptive the young sailors, the men and women who crew our ships are,'” Fox reported. “Montgomery went on to say that the report showed that the sailors indicated there was an ‘overfocus’ on administration and training, which was ‘pulling us away from our focus on warfighting.'”
“When a Navy ship gets ready to get underway, it needs to focus on training and warfighting and not on administrative briefings on any issue or that issue,” he added but noted that with the right “investment” things could be turned around quickly.
“It’s got to be that focus on warfighting,” Montgomery said. “The way you get there is the proper investments of the sailor’s time and the government’s and the taxpayer’s money.”
“The sailors’ time is in warfighting, not briefings,” he continued. “The government’s money is in high-end simulations and in the maintenance of the ships.”