Global warming and political incorrectness are the greatest threats to the United States, and it is the job of America’s Navy to protect us from those threats. For the past eight years, that has been the strategic legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and the primary goal of his successor should be to ensure that Mabus has no legacy. The traditional mission of the US Navy has been to deter potentially hostile navies, or failing to do that, defeat them. Getting the US naval services back to that philosophy is going to be a big job for the new administration.
The Mabus priorities have been making the naval services more caring, inclusive, and environmentally protective. Discipline, combat effectiveness, and readiness have been secondary goals at best. Under Mabus, the Navy has sunk to readiness levels approaching those of the post-Vietnam Carter era. The breakdown of the appropriately named USS Zumwalt in the Panama Canal late last year is symbolic of Mabus and his “Great Green Fleet” concept. Zumwalt was arguably the worst Chief of Naval Operations in history. His namesake ship has been a disaster. Its main gun fires a round that is so expensive that it cannot be used in training, and would be ineffective in supporting sustained land operations, which is one of its primary missions.
The disgraceful conduct of sailors captured by the Iranians last year, and the incompetence of seamanship that led to the incident, are a direct reflection of the misplaced priorities of the Department of the Navy under Mabus. The fact that the Marine Corps has remained an effective military organization is primarily due to the moral courage of Marine Corps leaders who challenged Mabus and his extreme social experimentation at its worst when he attempted to integrate male and female units at the Marine Corps’ two recruit training establishments (Boot Camps).
The next Navy Secretary should have three immediate priorities:
First, should be a firm statement that a return combat readiness and iron discipline will the primary emphasis of the Navy and Marine Corps. Leaders should not be afraid to discipline malcontents because they might be accused of being racist or sexist; that is not the case today. Sailors and Marines should be trained to be warriors and not lab rats in bizarre social experiments. In addition, the Navy Department and the Defense Department as a whole should abandon hyphenated American celebration days. LGBT sailors and Marines are allowed to serve by law, but some are now demanding special recognition. Being recognized as a competent warrior should be enough. The demand for special recognition for race or sexual orientation detracts from morale, good order, and discipline; such celebrations have outlived their usefulness if they ever had any in the first place.
A second priority should be to conduct a thorough investigation into the Mabus’ era project on biofuels. In a recent Washington Post interview, Mabus touted supplying biofuels that cost only $1.99 a gallon as part of his legacy. The shady accounting that led to that ridiculous claim should be investigated and Mabus should be prohibited from being employed by any of the renewable energy firms with Navy contracts that profited from that scam in the future if it is shown to be bogus. If an investigation shows that biofuels are indeed cost effective and don’t impact operational efficiency, I’ll eat my hat; I’ll even buy a USS Zumwalt hat, and eat it.
Third, the embarrassingly bad performance of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) is an example of shoddy management and poor judgment involved in that program should result in a total review of Mabus era naval procurement. In the 21st Century, taxpayers should be able to demand that a multimillion dollar Navy ship have the same type of quality expected of a Toyota Prius.
The US Navy and its partner Marine Corps are facing extraordinary challenges in the 21st century. They have to be prepared to deter big wars with regional threats such as China, Iran, and North Korea as well as to wage small hybrid wars with non-state actors. They need to do so in an environment where threat include cyber warfare and insider attacks in an era of increasingly austere budgets. Secretary Mabus and people like him have used the Department of the Navy to accomplish non-military “progressive” political objectives at the expense of a real military capabilities.
Mabus and his ilk should be investigated for their performance in office; their “accomplishments” go beyond incompetent. If their actions are found to be of such a nature that they have eroded national security to further their political agendas, they should be prohibited from doing business with the government in the future.