February 15, 2022

The Secretary’s Six Woke Objectives for America’s Army

Unfortunately for America, it’s just what China and Russia wanted to hear.

Last week, the Army released a scathing assessment of Joe Biden’s actions when retreating from Afghanistan — an honest assessment of that deadly and disgraceful debacle. That was a straightforward and much-needed evaluation, which reflects well on the Army leadership’s critical thinking skills.

On the other hand, this week Army Secretary Christine Wormuth published her objectives for America’s Army. Intended to set resourcing goals and strategic direction for the Army’s uniformed leadership and all our Soldiers, I was expecting to read three things — the same three that any patriotic American (and Army senior uniformed leadership?) would be expecting from her.

Here’s what I was looking for:

  1. As part of America’s joint military force, prepare the Army and our Soldiers to fight and win a war against any foe threatening or attacking America’s vital national interests, especially China and Russia.

  2. Modernize the Army to ensure it is equipped with the weapons, support structure, and technology to enable our Soldiers to employ materiel overmatch against our foes, especially China and Russia.

  3. Take care of our troops. Our Soldiers and their families’ morale, health, and wellness must match the paradigm of “Mission First, Soldiers Always.”

That’s it. Plain and simple.

So, when I read that the SecArmy had just published her objectives, I eagerly consumed them assuming to find that our Nation was fully supporting our Army warrior ethos. Here are Secretary Wormuth’s objectives for your Army. Hang on:

  1. Put the Army on a sustainable strategic path amidst this uncertainty.

    Good Lord! These are codewords for “We’re cutting your funds and you’ll have to make do with whatever scraps you can find in the Defense budget.” So much for warfighting readiness against China and Russia.

  2. Ensure the Army becomes more data-centric and can conduct operations in contested environments, which will enable our ability to prevail on the future battlefield.

    So we’re going to buy some computers and programs and they will ensure our Soldiers kill Chinese and Russian warriors in the blood and guts of close combat. I’ve read this data/information-centric stuff many times over the years. And, while important, computers do not provide the weapons, ammunition, and training necessary to overmatch and kill our enemy. Period.

  3. Continue our efforts to be resilient in the face of climate change.

    What? I have no idea what the Secretary is talking about. I can only wish that she had spent a few nights at Valley Forge with our troops before we were so ravaged by climate change. Nice digs and mild climate for those in Valley Forge in the days before climate change. One thing’s for sure: Washington was praying for a little climate change over that winter. Maybe our Secretary should resort to the same.

  4. Build positive command climates at scale across all Army formations.

    I know a little bit about command climates. While I have no idea what the Secretary is talking about with the words “at scale,” I do know that command climate is crucial in preparing formations for combat. That said, the issue of command climate is the single most important core requirement for any commander on the day of assumption of command of his or her unit. It is the sinew of command and leadership.

    I find it stunning that Secretary Wormuth finds it necessary to remind Commanders that one of their most important requirements is to establish and maintain a positive warfighting command climate. Either she believes the tenant of command climate is broken in the Army (I find that harder than hard to believe, at least at the tactical formation level), or she is hoping to inject some new “medicine” into the battle-tested fundamentals of command leadership. I fear the second. Hang on to your hats, commanders.

  5. Reduce harmful behaviors in our Army.

    Again, what? What are the current harmful behaviors? Are our platoon leaders and platoon sergeants, company commanders, and first sergeants running amok with “harmful behavior”? Really? When did all this begin? Why do I think, if present, it all might have entered the ranks on the date of the inauguration of our current President?

  6. Strategically adapt the way we recruit and retain talent into the Army in order to sustain the all-volunteer force.

    Strategically adapt? I can’t wait to tell Staff Sergeant Smith that he or she is now ordered to strategically adapt to convince Johnny Jones to join the Army. Good luck. In the modern all-volunteer force, recruiting is simple and everyone on the planet knows it. It’s called “money and benefits.” Almost all youngsters need some help from Maslow when they are considering joining the force and Maslow begins with a hierarchy of needs. To a young person considering enlistment, those needs are money and benefits. Period.

    Go back to the Secretary’s objective one to see how much money the Army is going to receive to meet all its requirements for combat readiness. Insufficient money and poor benefits equal an inability to recruit youngsters of the necessary aptitude and physical fitness to fill our ranks. Look for a de facto smaller Army because of underfunding. The Chinese and Russians will love this one. Full stop.

So, what to make of all this? Pure and simple, it’s all woke, social engineering, touchy-feely gruel from the Secretary of the Army. That’s what she has published. We are in trouble. All I can say is that I pray for a near-term Secretary of Army, Secretary of Defense, and President who will return to the basic and simple tenant of America’s Army: Be ready to fight and win America’s wars, and here’s the stuff you need to do it. You are warriors. Mission First, Soldiers Always. God help America.

Meanwhile, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has amassed his invasion forces on the borders of eastern Ukraine and moved warships into the region, preparing to challenge NATO’s resolve.

(B.B. Bell, General, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a member of the Patriot Post’s National Advisory Committee. He served in uniform for almost four decades, including extended deployments overseas in both peace and war.)

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