Farewell to America's military meritocracy
As a fleet sailor for over thirty years, I saw our Navy and other branches military up close and personal. Yes, when I raised my right hand in 1970 to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America," there were still vestiges of racism and discrimination in all the services. Perhaps there was more in the tradition-bound Navy than in any other branch — stewards were either Filipino or Black, and there were very few minority commanding officers, let alone admirals. That has changed dramatically in the last fifty years.
Over time, through the concerted efforts of leaders such as then–chief of naval operations Elmo Zumwalt, the tide began to turn for minorities and women serving in the nation's sea service. In addition, the elimination of the draft and the creation of the all-volunteer force served as a catalyst to level the playing field for all serving regardless of race, sex, or creed. The vision of President Harry Truman, who formally outlawed segregation in the military, was finally coming to fruition, and we were a more capable force across the board.
The United States military at large evolved into a true meritocracy, where an individual was promoted strictly on performance. I can honestly say in my thirty years of active service that I saw an individual not as white or black, but as a fellow "shipmate" based solely on his performance.
Unfortunately, this will soon end, as last week the Pentagon rolled out its own "equity" plan. The Department of Defense is now aiming to "equalize outcomes for employees" and partners across racial and sex-based lines. In the text, the DOD explained a series of procedural changes to better align with the White House's demands for "equity."
"While the Department has historically focused on increasing equity within the DOD community, the collective actions described in this plan represent a shift in the Department's approach and focus to better ensure that we leverage our capabilities to create opportunities for all Americans," the Department of Defense wrote in its report.
The report continued, "This included a focus on how extremist or dissident ideologies violate the fundamental principles of the Department" and went on to note its increased tolerance for military service by transgender soldiers. "DOD took steps to ensure transgender individuals who wished to serve in the military and could meet the appropriate standards were able to do so openly and free from discrimination."
So it appears America's ultimate meritocracy, the force that rose from like a phoenix from the ashes of Vietnam and won Desert Storm, will be no more — sadly, another victim to wokeness. Equality is the principle proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence, not equity. The U.S. military, which was once a model meritocracy and model of combat effectiveness, where all were treated equally, is now embarking on the ever-slippery slope. Where will it end?
God save us from ourselves.