- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Navy has issued its last major directive of the Barack Obama era with a “diversity road map” that paves the way for a multiethnic force of sailors and civilians who are protected against discrimination based on “gender identity” or “sex stereotyping.”

The paper has the hallmarks of former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the eight-year officeholder whose legacy is steeped in social change. The final report was released by Obama holdovers on Jan. 27, a week into Donald Trump’s presidency.

Elaine L. Donnelly, whose Center for Military Readiness opposed much of Mr. Obama’s cultural agenda, said the Navy should have withheld its diversity report until the Trump team took over.

“To me, the most important thing is the audacity of the Navy in releasing the document after the inauguration,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “Pentagon holdovers need to understand that they work for a new commander in chief.”

The road map underscores a broader Pentagon priority of Mr. Obama, who opened the military to gays and to transgender people. He also opened direct land combat roles to women.

Diversity, as well as another noncombat issue — climate change — became imbued in Defense Department doctrine as essential to winning wars.

“Diversity is a strategic imperative, critical to mission readiness and accomplishment, and a leadership requirement,” the Defense Department declared in its 2012-2017 diversity road map.

The Pentagon also has issued directives on climate change that told commanders, “DoD recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to U.S. interests globally.”

One Pentagon directive ordered the top brass to “incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations.”

Whether Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, or the Trump White House will continue the Obama social and climate change priorities is unclear.

“I doubt that General Mattis would agree that the Military Diversity Complex is part of his DoD planning,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “I doubt he is aware of it.”

Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, chief Navy spokeswoman, said the Navy is simply complying with a directive issued by Mr. Obama in 2011.

“In response to the executive order, DoD directed the services to develop a diversity and inclusion road map that echoed the goals presented in DoD’s diversity and inclusion road map,” Adm. Cutler said.

Mrs. Donnelly said the Defense Department’s constant diversity push is better suited to a civil service or private organization than to a warrior culture that should be looking for the most skilled fighters for life-or-death scenarios.

“When they say anyone in the world can join, how do you have an efficient military?” she said. “They are saying the military is not different. It’s just another equal opportunity employer.”

She also said the Defense Department diversity push is tantamount to ordering job quotas.

The Navy’s road map states that leaders will hold commanders accountable to “effectively manage diversity” and “refine approaches to engender a sustainable culture of inclusion.”

It calls for “the establishment of governance mechanism to oversee and ensure departmentwide standards for measuring progress.”

To Mrs. Donnelly, this can mean only one thing.

“All of these euphemisms are new ways to enforce gender diversity ‘metrics’ — another name for quotas,” she said. “Diversity achieved by nondiscrimination and recognition of individual merit is a good thing. But this concept is government-sponsored discrimination that protects individual rights only for certain demographic groups and is completely different.”

Mr. Mabus in 2015 endorsed a plan from his admirals to make women 25 percent of the active force across all ship squadrons. Women make up about 18 percent of the 323,000-member active force.

Too white, too male

The Navy road map lays out layers of bureaucracy to enforce diversity.

Reporting to the Navy secretary is the total force integration board, the executive diversity advisory council and the diversity and inclusion council. Reporting to the chief of naval operations is the strategic workforce council and the strategic diversity working group. The commandant of the Marine Corps oversees two similar bodies.

The road map says the Navy cannot discriminate against sailors based on “gender identity” or sexual orientation.

The list is broader for Navy civilians: It includes age, pregnancy, “sex stereotyping,” transgender status or “any other non-merit-based factor.”

In all, the Navy is looking for demographic, cognitive, organizational and global diversity.

In releasing the road map on Jan. 27, Victoria Bowens, the Navy’s diversity chief, said: “Our department’s strength relies upon the diverse talents and perspectives of our sailors, Marines and civilian personnel. Our differences foster respect and trust, promote a free flow of ideas and enhance collaboration and cooperation between and within organizations.”

The diversity campaign is rooted in the U.S. census. The American population is becoming less white as a percentage, meaning the armed forces must appeal to growing minority groups to reflect the nation’s population and to attract young people.

The push for diversity began with President George W. Bush, who signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2009, setting up a 31-member commission to recommend ways to increase diversity in the armed forces.

The special commission filed a final report in 2011, the year that the Obama administration issued its executive orders.

The Army and Air Force released their diversity road maps in 2013.

“Diversity is a military necessity,” the Air Force said. “Air Force decision-making and operational capabilities are enhanced by diversity among its airmen, uniformed and civilian, helping make the Air Force more agile, innovative and effective.”

The Washington Times reported last year that the commander of the aerial demonstration team Thunderbirds sent a memo chastising Air Force wing commanders for sending too many white, male pilot candidates.

“While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and [aircraft type] background,” he wrote.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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