US Navy told to focus on fighting, not ‘woke’ training

The US navy is facing a crisis in leadership and focuses too much on diversity training and not enough on winning a future war, according to a Senate report.

It followed a series of disasters including a devastating fire on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard last year, and two fatal collisions of navy ships in the Pacific in 2017.

For the report two senior retired officers conducted interviews with dozens of serving and recently retired personnel across a spectrum of ranks.

They found 94 per cent of those interviewed said there was a broad "cultural or leadership problem" in the navy.

It concluded senior leaders were too micromanaging and intolerant of one-off mistakes.

The report said: "Finding and sinking enemy fleets should be the principal purpose of a navy.

"But many sailors found their leadership distracted, captive to bureaucratic excess, and rewarded for the successful execution of administrative functions rather than their skills as a warfighter."

It added: "With China building and operating a competitive fleet, the lack of proper attention on warfighting was of deep concern to many interviewees."

The Navy has recently endured a number of disasters, including a fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard last year

Credit: AP

One recently retired senior officer quoted in the report said: "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."

A "frustration with non-essential training" was found to be "overwhelming", the report said.

It said programmes including ones to encourage diversity and human sex trafficking prevention were "appropriate but come with a cost", monopolising training time and creating "administrative quagmires".

The report said sailors were being "weighed down" with non-combat related training, which was increasingly being "seen as the mission, rather than the mission itself".

One serving lieutenant said: "Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy.

"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 colour."

The report was compiled by Marine Lieutenant General Robert Schmidle and Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery.

It was commissioned by Republican senator Tom Cotton, and Republican members of Congress including Dan Crenshaw, a former US navy Seal.

It also found that navy leaders had an "over-sensitivity" to negative media coverage.

Jim Banks, one of the Republicans who commissioned the report, said: "At a time when the navy’s readiness is more critical than ever before this report depicts a leadership that is distracted from the number one threat to American national security, the Chinese Communist Party."

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