Former U.S. Speaker: Keeping Partisan Ideology Out of Our Armed Forces

Last week, I wrote an op-ed about a recent U.S. Navy report on investigating and stopping discrimination in the military with an absurd oath.

Based on the report I saw, I incorrectly asserted that the pledge was adopted by the entire U.S. Navy. As it turns out, the pledge only applies to the leadership of Task Force One Navy, which met in June and issued the report.

The U.S. Navy assured us last week that the oath was never intended to be imposed on every sailor in the Navy, that it represents more of a “guideline” for task force leadership to think about, and that it is not comparable to the oath sailors take to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.

This, of course, was a relief to me. However, the wording of the pledge is still laced with partisan, politically charged, critical doctrinal gibberish that has no place in our non-partisan armed forces. It is worrisome that this partisan pseudo-righteousness came from a senior task force leadership team consisting of two Rear Admirals, a unit commander, an active duty captain and a civilian expert advisor.

The oath reads.

“I pledge to embrace and recognize all the Life experiences and intersectional identities (intersectional identities) of every sailor in the Navy. I pledge to engage in ongoing self-reflection, Education and knowledge sharing for the betterment of self and community. I pledge to be a role model for a healthy, inclusive and team-oriented environment. I pledge to constructively share all experiences and information gained from the above activities to inform the development of Navy-wide reform.”

As I wrote in last week’s article, the point of this report is not to make the U.S. Navy a more effective combat force and thus better prepared to defend the United States. Instead, it sends a signal that divisive, radical ideas have infiltrated our military.

The Navy’s swift response to my op-ed prompted me to look more deeply into the full report and its recommendations. This only made me more angry that this disgusting oath was included.

Almost all 56 of the report’s recommendations are entirely reasonable and may improve the Navy’s ability to recruit and retain the best personnel, making it a more cohesive and lethal fighting force. The term “intersectionality,” a radical leftist term that seeks to convince all Americans that the United States is a systemically racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, irredeemably evil nation, does not appear in the document. In short, this false oath has little or nothing to do with the otherwise legitimate report. This is the worst outreach effort I have seen in a long Time.

For example, it makes perfect sense for the Navy to conduct research and better advertising in minority communities. While in some ways the demographics of the active duty Navy are already more diverse than the rest of the U.S. (19 percent of active duty service members are black, compared to about 13 percent of the U.S. population that is black), the officers in the service are mostly white and male.

This is a missed opportunity to build a more well-rounded and experienced officer corps. As the report recommends, the same effort should be made to recruit and enlist women, Latinos and young Americans.

This also means that expanding the Navy scholarship program to help recruits and active duty sailors who cannot afford to register and complete officer training is a great idea. Lack of wealth or lack of affluence should not prevent Americans from serving at the highest levels of the military. Instead, military service should create opportunities for any American willing to fight and sacrifice to build a prosperous, meaningful career to protect our country, regardless of their background.

Along these lines, it would also be a good idea to explore similar academic aptitude tests (SATs) for potential recruits from Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. (Although the proposal to simply suspend some of the requirements for officer competency rating tests for members of certain communities seems worrisome.)

Many of the suggestions for injecting more transparency and data tracking into hiring, promotion, and retention efforts are also worth considering.

Finally, it is clear that no form of discrimination should be tolerated in our armed forces or anywhere in American society. As the title of the report suggests, the Navy (and all of the military) must stand together. Service members of any rank who discriminate or create division on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, or any other basis must be promptly reported, investigated, and, if found guilty, punished.

Thus, even if this oath would not be imposed on every sailor in the Navy, it would still be inappropriate and harmful.

Communication occurs when it is passively accepted, not when it is imposed. To anyone who follows modern American politics, the pledge is clearly the divisive political language used by the left’s pseudo-righteous elite, not the practical language used by ordinary Americans. The profoundly negative reaction it provoked in me, the conservative media and members of Congress undermines the importance and validity of the contingent report and its recommendations.

I hope that the Navy, and every branch of the U.S. military, will take note of this failure to communicate with all Americans and correct course.

Original Article: Keeping Partisan Ideology Out of Our Armed Forces

Author Bio.

Newt Gingrich (R-GA) served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 and ran as a presidential candidate in 2012.