Keeping America Safe / National Security / Politics

Stop Demoralizing Our Military


In the 1970s, following a miserable end to a miserable war and departure from Saigon, drug use rose, and discipline fell in the US military. Only Ronald Reagan’s crackerjack Secretary of Defense Cap Weinberger and National Security Advisor Colin Powell punched up morale, began to change things. We are suddenly there again. We need to preempt the slide.

Yes, that will be hard. First, Biden – and Obama before him – considered the military a “petri dish,” little social experiment into which ideas are gingerly injected, indifferent to their effect on warfighting, warfighters, and readiness to win wars, which is why we have a military.

Broadly, the idea is to bend readiness – an idea few politicians understand – to politics, which makes progressive politicians feel better and aims to make the US military softer, kinder, more akin to civilian sensitivities, sensibilities, and subtle social muddles, warfighting aside.

That would be fine in times when no one cares, when foreign threats, dealing death, defending honor, protecting borders, deflecting mortars, preserving cohesion, mission completion, life-or-death decisions are secondary. We might afford not being ready – if nothing to be ready for.

Only that is not now. We face more threats from more quarters, more danger with less time to react and recognition of their approach than any time since pre-World War II. We have official adversaries, like China, Iran, Russia, Taliban-led Afghanistan again.

We have unofficial adversaries, operating like ghost groups, terrorist non-state actors, state-sponsored hackers, human and drug traffickers, border busters, those posing as allies but not.

We have internal adversaries – as all democracies do – and must be vigilant to find and disable them. These adversaries aim to poison minds, infiltrate institutions, dislodge and confuse public trust and education, create disunity using technology, cryptology, and basic guile.

So, the point: We do not live in a time when readiness is secondary, can be suppressed, forgotten, coopted, or let slide. Undermining readiness is consequential – which is why adversaries are pleased to see us distracted. They think we are losing our will to win.

For reference, the unforgivable tragedy of leaving Americans and allies behind in Afghanistan looms large but is not alone. Look at recent history, a slide in military morale over a decade.

What have we seen? We failed to get Bin Laden under Clinton, had the shot. Bush’s team dragged America into Iraq, like it or not. But demoralization is more than miscalculation.

In the Navy, the “Fat Leonard” scandal was the “worst national security breach … since the Cold War,” infecting command, confidence, and readiness. Bribery, graft, lack of accountability, loss of classified documents put us in peril.

In contracting, the “Littoral Combat Ship” slipped as mission creeps sought security on the cheap, an exemplar of how not to build what you do not need for a cost you cannot afford. On personnel, we saw “loss of confidence” in SEAL Team 7’s leaders, fired following drug abuse; criminal actions by MARSOC Marines and SEALs in the Melgar case; SEAL Team 10’s cocaine use; and a raft of situations, command errors to Academy cheating, driving “back to basics.”

Digging deeper, a recent survey revealed “broad consensus across interviewees on numerous cultural and structural issues that impact the morale and readiness of the Navy’s surface force,” including “insufficient focus on warfighting skills … over-sensitivity and responsiveness to modern media culture.”

One observation: “… every unit in the Navy is up to speed on their diversity training … cannot say the same of their ship handling,” adding “we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy.” That has some sting.

The other services suffer similar strains. Crashes and tactical errors continue to increase, tracking distracted, misguided, poorly prioritized, and social over practical training.

In the Army, leadership is more interested in social planning than withdrawal planning, “Critical Race Theory” than critical readiness gaps, allowing lapses in truth, as soldiers smuggle cocaine, West Point cheating resurfaces, force protection, sexual harassment, and other indicia of poor discipline abound. Nor is the Air Force beyond critique, a raft of their own scandals.

Now, topping off this sloppy slide toward the 1970s, we just witnessed dishonor, disgrace, indifference in our face – from Biden’s top national security leaders, a self-satisfied “victory lap” for a catastrophic failure – with cascading human and strategic implications – in Afghanistan.

Yes, we can get beyond this moment, re-set bearings, reestablish readiness, discipline, and morale, but we better get to it – now. Civilian and military leaders must see our enemies want us distracted, not focused on what matters. And what matters, in deterrence and war, is winning.

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11 months ago

The current administration is more interested in gaining military support (through diversity training and getting rid the conservatives in uniform) to enforce their agenda on the American people. The administration will need the military to suppress agitators.

11 months ago

This is yet another facet of the overall actions of the leftist to overtake the republic. Every chance you get as an appreciative citizen, to honor, thank, speak supportively to, and show your respect to our fighting men and women should be taken. We cannot let our military people be drop kicked by our failed leaders……not like they did to we who served in Nam. Back then public support was at an all time low,and the leadership was less than helpful on all levels. The turn around must come before our military becomes yet another arm of the socialist manipulation of our nation.

John B
11 months ago

Your are wrong about the Littoral Combat Ship. It serves a critical mission and is a versatile ship that can operate in shallow waters and the open seas.

Jesse Tiede
11 months ago

This “Military as a petri dish” thing happened a long time before Obama and Biden! It goes back to LBJ, and the military industrial machine, and maybe a little further, to when Nikita Khrushchev addressed the UN, in 1959 (?) that Communism would destroy the USA, and not fire a single shot! Looks like he is being proven right, on a daily basis! This is no longer the country I was born and raised in! It’s no longer the country I raised my children in! The wanton disregard for the realities of financial responsibilities is overwhelming! How can we expect somebody to go get a job, pay taxes, and support the economy, when the government literally gives money to these lazy people, paying to ‘NOT WORK’? No wonder illegals stream into the USA! Our National Tipping Point has been reached, and we are about to fall into the abyss on the down side! I wonder if there will ever be a Free America, again! Well, as for me, and my family, we will serve the Lord, Jesus Christ! It’s not too late to repent of your Sin, and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior! But, time is running out, and, you really don’t want to be left behind… Praise God!

Philip Hammersley
11 months ago

I have a cousin who is a high-ranking naval officer. He is disgusted at the CRAP he is ordered to teach his sailors. He is a proud AMERICAN who doesn’t go for the woke CRAP!

11 months ago

 “About 75 percent of US 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for the military due to lack of education, obesity, physical problems or criminal history.” I was a member of the US Army or NATO Forces before 1970 until 1977. Nixon’s All-Volunteer Army was a nightmare – I was then a Battalion Personnel NCO and couldn’t believe what I was reading in the records of the “volunteers” we were getting in. While Carter’s record on use of the military (in spite of having been a Naval Officer) is quite spotty, when the next Dimocratic President Clinton took over – the “Coward of the Country” and Draft-Dodger in Chief – the military really began to decline, I was glad to have been separated from the service by that time. Then Obama came in and removed over 120 General and Flag Officers (most likely the “military” type Officers as opposed to the “political” type…and believe me having served at SHAPE Headquarters with NATO, there is a big difference. Even Obama said that the US Military never lost a major battle in Vietnam. Don’t know if he went on to say that it was the politicians who lost the war but he should have. Now we’re suffering with Obama 2.0

11 months ago

the US military needs to be solidly strong mentally and physically. Other countries train intensely for a stronger military and all this mamby-pamby garbage has no place in the military. It should have been left in the sand box when we were children.

J. Farley
11 months ago

We the American people are living a Country ran by Very corrupt people, there is not one Government agency that is not ran by a socialist. Each and everyone of these agencies want to put some sort of control on the American people. There is not one agency that has any redeeming value. While these people hold power, you, your family, your property, your Constitutional Rights, and Civil Liberties are NOT safe, and now we have a Military leadership that is turning on America, We have a military General Milley that is going over the Presidents, head and conducting Foreign policy and colluding with foreign Governments.
This is a dangerous action, Undermining The President is a Treasonous Act. We have lost our America because of the weak kneed Republicans and the communist news media that will not hold the left Accountable for any action they take.
We the American people need to pick a Saturday and in every City, Town, at every City hall,
County Courthouse and State Capitol, and gather and not ask, but demand that our local leaders, (the grass roots) take what ever action they can to fight this corrupt Government and if they refuse, we the people should take action to remove them by all legal means, and it some one gets in our way we walk over them .
God save America

Don Pierce
11 months ago
Reply to  J. Farley

I have a question for our misguided liberals: How do you think you will like life if our watered down military are bettered by the Chinese military and we all live under the harsh rule of the Chinese government? (Veteran Korean war)

J. Farley
10 months ago
Reply to  Don Pierce

The Democrats are under the faults assumption, that they will be part of the great new world order, but, they are badly mistaken, they will be executed, because they can’t be trusted as they helped destroy one Government , so they won’t get a second chance.

Deb Kaiser
11 months ago

Thank you for this article.I have a family member in the service, and know that he must remain strong, true, and vituous in this time. Time to call out all these menacing, morale depleting actions.

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