CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS: “I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO BE WOKE”

                                                              By Daniel John Sobieski

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Or should his title be chief of navel-gazing operations? Someone should tell Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday that he has just one job – to manage and deploy the ships of the United States Navy in such a way to guarantee our freedom of the seas and to deny the enemy the use of those seas to attack the United States, sending enemy fleets to the bottom of those seas if necessary in time of war.

He is a military warrior. He is not a social justice warrior. Diversity to him, if I may be so bold as to use a gender pronoun, should be the proper mix of aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and submarines needed to fight  America’s naval battles and project American power to defend our homeland and our allies. China and Russia don’t fear the diversity of our crews or the ethnicity and gender of the finger that launches that Tomahawk missile only their ability to fight and win battles.

But no, instead of preparing our fleets for battle, Admiral Gilday is damning the torpedoes and going full speed ahead on pushing critical race theory on the Navy by putting a book espousing critical race theory on the Navy’s reading list for sailors. His recent testimony before Congress shows us the trouble we’re in

Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, did not answer questions Tuesday about whether author-activist Ibram X. Kendi’s opposition to interracial adoption and capitalism is extreme.

But, Gilday did tell the House Armed Services Committee that Kendi’s controversial book “How to Be an Antiracist” would lead to “a better Navy” by promoting more discussion on racism in America. 

Kendi is director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and his book contends that America is a fundamentally racist country. 

At the hearing, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., teed up a question to Gilday by noting that “the Navy recently completed a one-day ‘stand-down’ to remove extremism from the ranks.”

“In my view, Kendi has espoused extremist beliefs that clearly violate the oath to the Constitution I took when I served in the Navy,” Banks said….

“Let me ask you again, Admiral: Do you expect that after sailors read this book that says that the United States Navy is racist, that we will increase or decrease morale or cohesion and recruiting rates into the United States Navy?”

Gilday replied: “I think we’ll be a better Navy from having open, honest conversations about racism.”

The U.S. military is in fact the greatest meritocracy in the world. In the best tradition of Martin Luther King it judges people on the content of their character and their ability to fight, not the color of their skin. This book Gilday is pushing on sailors does not improve military preparedness ot morale. Who wants to fight and die for a fundamentally racist country?

Here’s some fact, not theory, for Admiral Gilday. The Chinese and Russians want to be our oppressors. They want us to be oppressed by them. Preparing for that end, Russia recently held naval exercises off Hawaii:

Russian ships are conducting the largest military exercises since the Cold War off the coast of Hawaii, sending the US Air Force scrambling hours before President Biden meets Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The exercises, conducted by the Russian navy in the Pacific Ocean 300 to 500 miles west of Hawaii, include long-range bombers, surface ships and anti-submarine aircraft.

The US Air Force scrambled F-22 stealth fighters from Hawaii in response to the exercises.

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Russia has conducted joint naval exercises with China, which has built the world’s largest navy with the fruits of its theft of U.S. intellectual property and technology and trade imbalances. The Chinese are laughing at our wokeness as it prepares to do battle with and defeat the U.S. Navy and as it prepares to invade Taiwan.  They are not concerned with diversity or the proportion of Muslim Uighurs on its ship as it moves to take command of the seas:

Take a look around. Russia recently conducted large naval drills around Ukraine. Chinese aircraft and warships are busily trying to intimidate Taiwan and bully Philippine fishermen in the South China Sea. All the while, Beijing assiduously has been expanding its navy at breakneck pace.

That pace is staggering as Beijing acquires port privileges and naval facilities around the globe. China’s new deep water navy is aimed at seizing Taiwan, kicking us out of the Western Pacific and neutering our nacal capabilities worldwide:

China has the largest navy in the world. And it’s not just big, but it’s getting better.

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines including over 130 major surface combatants,” states the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2020 annual report to Congress on Chinese military power. “In comparison, the U.S. Navy’s battle force is approximately 293 ships as of early 2020.”…

China’s navy “is an increasingly modern and flexible force that has focused on replacing previous generations of platforms with limited capabilities in favor of larger, modern multi-role combatants,” the report says. “As of 2019, the PLAN is largely composed of modern multi-role platforms featuring advanced anti-ship, antiair, and anti-submarine weapons and sensors.”

China’s growing fleet of aircraft carriers has garnered the most attention. The PLAN has one decrepit ex-Soviet carrier, a newly commissioned carrier that is the first built in China, a third carrier under construction, and plans to build an additional four or more vessels. Fitted with advanced features like an electromagnetic launch system, a Chinese carrier fleet could provide air cover for an amphibious invasion of Taiwan, or even confront the U.S. Navy in the first carrier versus carriers battles since World War II.

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An editorial in China’s The Global Times, a newspaper seen as a mouthpiece for hard-line nationalists in Beijing warns of the consequences of resistance warns, “If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt these activities, then a U.S. China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.” As Investor’s Business Daily has noted:

Beijing has long declared the South China Sea to be its territorial waters and has laid claim to two disputed chains: the Paracel Islands, about 200 miles from the coast of Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands in the southeastern part of the South China Sea. China's territorial ambitions include the Senkakus in the East China Sea, part of what Chinese military doctrine refers to as the "first island chain" that surrounds China.

In the South China Sea, as of February, China had finished construction on no less than six different island reefs from which to project its power in the South China Sea.  Included in its military effort is the construction of a 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) long runway on the artificially expanded Fiery Cross Reef as a base for Chinese fighter aircraft. According to Reuters,

China's creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea is happening so fast that Beijing will be able to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets before long, much to the alarm of rival claimants to the contested waters.

Reclamation work is well advanced on six reefs in the Spratly archipelago, according to recently published satellite photographs and Philippine officials. In addition, Manila said this month that Chinese dredgers had started reclaiming a seventh.

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A few years ago, naval commanders expressed concern that our ability to respond to such threats has been severely compromised by leaders more concerned about rising sea levels than rising threats on those seas. The Navy captains’ Congressional testimony came after the Chinese announcement that it was building its second aircraft to go along with a refurbished Soviet carrier, the Liaonng, commissioned by China in 2012 after extensive refitting of the 25-year-old vessel. As IBD has reported, the Liaoning is only the first step I the building of a blue-water navy capable of competing with our diminishing one, with Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, warning that the U.S. was losing its Pacific dominance to China:

China's Communist Party-affiliated newspaper, Global Times, gloated over Locklear's warning, noting his remarks in a story beneath the headline "U.S. losing grip on Pacific: PACOM."

In the Times story, Jin Canrong, a deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, said the American admiral's comments recognize China as a rising military power. Indeed, it is. China has launched its first stealth drone, known as Sharp Sword, and is developing indigenous aircraft carriers. Its "two-ocean strategy" is based on the goal of building a fleet of five or six carrier battle groups.

China's first battle group, led by its first carrier, the Liaoning, recently conducted a monthlong exercise that saw the refurbished Soviet-built flattop and her escorts sail south to the waters near Taiwan. During the exercise, a Chinese warship nearly collided with the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, which was shadowing the battle group.

China is preparing for a naval confrontation with the United States. We may lose that confrontation in the South China Sea because the U.S. Navy is focusing on wokeness, not readiness.

 

            Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

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