April 4, 2023

Another Major Report on Our Military’s Unreadiness

The Heritage Foundation’s latest report sounds a familiar warning about our military’s misplaced priorities.

“Last I checked, there’s no charging stations for electric tanks in Ukraine, or in Africa, or really anywhere else in the world. And also, last I checked, our enemies aren’t worried about how diverse our squadrons are.”

So said Florida Congressman and former special operator Michael Waltz, who recently delivered bitter but necessary medicine not only to the U.S. military brass but also to Congress and to the American people. “Never once, as a Green Beret calling in air support,” he continued, “did any of my Green Berets worry about the sexual orientation of the pilot, or race, religion, socioeconomic background. I can guarantee you, our enemies’ bullets and enemy fighter pilots aren’t worried about that either. The only thing they’re worried about is whether we’re American or not, of whether we are capable of defending ourselves and defeating them or not.”

Waltz, who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, had plenty more to say both during an hour-long panel discussion and in a lengthy Heritage Foundation report on military service and readiness.

The panel, which included numerous defense professionals and national security experts, including Lieutenant General and former Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Hudson Institute national defense policy senior fellow Rebecca Heinrichs, was introduced by Heritage President Kevin Roberts, who summed up our nation’s military predicament this way: “While the Biden administration pursues a politicized ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ experiment, the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness has focused on recommending actionable steps to solve our government-created military recruitment and readiness crises. Now is the time for patriots to step up and restore our military’s warrior ethos and readiness, not to be distracted by the political agenda of bureaucratic elites.”

“The Army in particular,” said Waltz, “is losing divisions’ worth of soldiers that they’re not bringing in, and that trend wasn’t just a one-year COVID-related episode like we’re being told is the case. It’s continuing this year. That means it will likely continue to the next because these are cumulative effects and if we don’t arrest this downward trend, I believe the volunteer military could become in the coming years at risk. And that would have all kinds of follow-on consequences.”

Fundamentally, we’ve lost our way as a fighting force. As the report puts it: “A strong warrior ethos is essential for the military’s purpose — to deter conflict and fight and win should deterrence fail. If ensuring the ability to fight and win is not the focus of the DOD, confused priorities threaten to dilute the warrior ethos and create uncertainty about the military’s purpose and, as a result, threaten the military’s ability to defend Americans.”

As for our nation’s now-endemic recruiting shortfall, the Biden administration has been dodging the hard truth since its onset: Would-be warriors simply don’t want to join a fighting force whose primary goals focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion rather than training for war and defending the nation. Young men who’d normally jump at the chance to serve their country don’t want any part of a weak, woke commander-in-chief and his like-minded lieutenants.

While the report points out the problems, it also notes that they can be solved by implementing policies that restore the DOD’s focus to warfighting, which includes the following recommendations to improve recruiting, retention, and warfighting readiness:

  • Eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from the Defense Department.
  • Redirect politicized efforts to combat extremism toward improving readiness.
  • Establish standards for the Defense Department and the various services based on readiness.
  • Prioritize security and defense over combating climate change.

None of what Congressman Waltz and his colleagues are reporting here should shock Patriot Post readers, as we’ve repeatedly reported on these issues of readiness and recruitment since the earliest days of the Biden administration and its disgraceful military-wide “white supremacy” stand-down.

What’s new about this panel’s approach is its rhetoric, which seems a bit more measured than that of other highly critical reports. One notable difference: the report’s authors have refrained from using the term “woke” except when citing other sources. Instead, they’ve opted for a less derogatory term, “politicization,” whose various forms are used 18 times throughout the report.

Whether this kinder, gentler admonition will work is anyone’s guess, but, as the panel summarizes: “National defense should not be a partisan issue. All Americans share the common interest in a strong U.S. military and should be united in reducing obstacles that thwart the highest levels of readiness. The panel expresses its appreciation for the men and women serving in the Armed Forces and for their sacrifices. It is in their names and interest that the panel fervently hopes that the changes recommended in this report will be implemented as soon as possible.”

ASAP indeed. The American military is poorly prepared to defend our nation, and this perilous condition is entirely thanks to an alarmingly incompetent commander-in-chief and his administration’s focus on all the wrong things.

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