My recent column, Losing their way, service academies put our security at risk, generated much argument on both sides -- I'm glad it did. The subjects highlighted in the column need to be discussed; I am in a position to force this 'conversation', so I will continue to do so.
Below is a response I received from a female upper class cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Regardless of the fact that she contacted the press most likely without permission from her superiors (I'm sure this standard is not enforced anymore either), the letter is a perfect example of why the United States will lose the coming war with China. I almost threw up in my mouth when I read it. I won't disclose her name in public.
Before we delve into the letter, let me highlight a few items about my previous column.
First, I did not say women are intellectually inferior to men. Many enjoy the tactic of putting words in other people's mouths in order to marginalize their message (It's an old Soviet method). What I said was the admission of women to the academies resulted in a reduction in physical and mental standards. The fact that physical standards have been lowered is just a fact. What I meant by mental standards is a reduction in training for high levels of stress and attention to detail. This training has essentially disappeared, unnecessarily, so of course standards for mental toughness have disappeared. In fact, now the opposite is true; cadets are 'coddled' and given 'safe spaces' to de-stress. This manifests itself in a lower quality graduate out in the field, not to the caliber of person, but the caliber of training received.
I am also not saying women should be refused admission to the academies; females contribute greatly to our military capability in certain roles, and need to be represented. What I am questioning is the higher and higher percentage of female enrollment. There is a balance that should be maintained for military preparedness...thirty percent female enrollment and growing has passed that threshold.
Second, I mentioned that standards have been lowered for some minorities to push minority enrollment. This is also a fact. Again, I am not saying that anyone should not have the chance to become a service academy cadet; what I am saying is that the role of the military academies, to produce the best military officers in the world, demands that only the very best are accepted. Sadly, that is not the case today, and it has a direct effect on the quality of graduates, again not the quality of the person. It is insulting to minorities to have admission standards lowered based on the color of your skin, and it should stop.
There should only be one criteria to get into an academy -- only the most qualified should be admitted.
Many vicious comments on my article stated that I do not care about the academy I graduated from; nothing could be further from the truth. I care enough to start and finish this conversation, and my current position in life allows me to do so, so I will.
In addition, my previous column was not only about Air Force, but about all of the academies. For instance, the horrific failures at West Point and the destruction of standards and traditions were well documented in LTC Robert M. Heffington's open letter in 2017.
Now let's move to our female cadet's letter.
She leads off with an argument that I cannot criticize the academies out of something called 'respect'. That is a convenient way to avoid accountability and it is unacceptable.
She then segues into a paragraph about how women are better shots than men statistically. Of course, that has nothing to do with being a warrior. It has to do with hand eye coordination and there very well may be evidence for this. However, to take her point further, should we then just admit all females because they are allegedly 'better shots'? Of course not.
The next conventional conflict will be horrific. The United States military has spent the last several decades fighting unconventional wars, which has destroyed the military's corporate knowledge and memory about 'total war'. This cadet's attitude is simply ridiculous. The Chinese hordes that will invade Guam, Hawaii, or LA will not care about respect. They will be warriors (perhaps genetically modified) and very, very strong, with death in their eyes. Just look at reports today where a million of their own people are in concentration camps, sliced open alive to harvest their organs, to get a glimpse of our future enemy.
Our cadet's attitude is not only naive, it is dangerous. However, it is indicative of what she is being taught. She is being taught to be a social justice warrior, not a military warrior trained to defend the homeland. It is not her fault; she is simply a product of the institution as it currently exists.
One of the points I made in an article written in 2017 after my 30th reunion was the Academy leadership created much buzz about their building programs and sports facilities, but zero discussion about training warriors. This is the singular way the academies are failing -- by failing to train warrior leaders.
Our cadet then goes on to explain how the way wars are fought has changed. This is true; however, it does not negate the need for physical strength. Our society is consumed at the moment with the denial of biological science, or put a better way, a denial of reality. This is nothing but cultural Marxism and it needs to be eradicated from our military institutions. Societies throughout history have failed, or been overrun, because of group think like our cadet's. Saying, 'it's different this time' has always led to historical truths about fighting wars becoming a terrible reality to those defeated. When the barbarians are at the gates, and they will come, you want an army of trained killers to defend you, not social justice warriors trained to respect and divide based on skin color or gender.
The nation of Israel is in a daily fight for survival with enemies on its borders who wish to 'wipe Israel off the map'. The Israeli Defense Force experimented with putting women in front line positions, and they reversed the decision because the policy was not effective for war fighting. Women now are employed mainly in support roles that have a much lower chance of contact with enemy forces.
Finally, our cadet gets to her real point -- this is my favorite line of the entire letter -- "Training social justice leaders is EXACTLY what our academies should be doing." (cue 'We are the world...we are the children...') And oh yea, the coup de grace, I'm a racist. Nothing could be further from the truth of course, but hey, the race card worked in the past, so why not use it when confronted with an argument you don't like? However, it has been used so much that it has arguably lost its effectiveness.
She justifies the constant focus on race saying, "Race is highlighted here because there’s clearly still an issue in this world." This is the identity politics mantra and all it produces is racial division. Thirty years ago nobody gave a damn about the color of your skin in the military. Now race is all that matters.
"Don’t tell me the military has no interest in social justice when that’s literally what we fight for," she declares. That's news to me, I thought she was fighting for the United States of America. Again, her comments are a shining example of what is being taught at our military institutions. The cancer that is eating up higher education in America has been injected into our beloved academies, destroying their effectiveness.
I was taught the mission of the U.S. Air Force was to 'kill people and break things' at the direction of the National Command Authority. Now we have societal experimentation as a guiding light. It is sickening.
We used to teach that a good officer motivates his subordinates by caring for your people; race was not an issue. The quotes required to be memorized by freshman cadets oozed this concept. "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity," said General George S. Patton, a quote I remember to this day. Unbenownst to our cadet, 'respect' has been the cornerstone of the American military for generations; this is why we have such a proficient non-commissioned officer corp. Respect does not require a hyper focus on race to teach it.
The constant focus on race divides a unit; it makes others feel uncomfortable. It creates barriers to effectiveness on the battlefield. It puts one group over another. I know, I still receive emails from cadets and grads almost daily on the subject, from all ethnic groups.
The academies have become vehicles for social advancement and experimentation; they have strayed from their mandate.
Denial of biology and denial of reality have very real, existential consequences for our military and our beloved country. The majority of cadets at our academies long for a martial experience as the traditions of the past mandate. We should give it to them, and save the republic.
You can help this effort by joining our Facebook page, "Service Academy Grads for Change".
I am a cadet at the Air Force Academy and I am writing you in regards to your most recent article, “Losing their way, service academies put our security at risk.”
My first issue with your article is when you say “Today, our academies have become essentially UCLA in uniforms.” Not only is that completely disrespectful to all cadets, but it also disrespectful to our leaders who are in fact the ones who attended USAFA during your time here. For example, our superintendent, General Silveria, graduated just one year before you did. General Silveria has made it very clear that equality and respect will be on the forefront of this institution, AS IT SHOULD BE. Which then brings me to my second point: your comments about women are not only disrespectful and ignorant, but COMPLETELY irrelevant.
Here’s why (see I can provide reasoning for what I have to say instead of just saying nonsense like you do with no explanations or reasons):
1. The chances of winning wars DOES increase with women in the military. How? Well I could give you an easy answer and be contempt and say “because it brings more ideas into the equation of things” but I will take it one step further with a specific example. WOMEN ARE BETTER SHOTS THAN MEN!!! Yes its true here’s a link to prove it https://www.nrafamily.org/articles/2019/1/15/are-women-better-shooters-than-men/. Col. Kenneth Haynes (Ret.) wrote this article and he says he believes women are better at shooting than men simply because “women are more coachable.” So, if you want to sit here and talk about how “strong” men are. May I remind you we don’t wrestle in battle, we shoot at each other.
2. Wars aren’t fought the way they used to be fought. More intellect is needed that physical power, so physical strength is less important as it used to be. We need innovators, we need thinkers, and we need as many different perspectives and experiences as we can get in order to win today’s wars.
3. Next, you state “The admission of more and more women has led to a reduction in physical and mental standards.” Okay, cool, so what if you can do more pushups than me? I don’t think it takes a ton of strength to pull a trigger. If I am a better shot than some man, wouldn’t you rather have me take the shot, or does the amount of pushups one can do determine who takes the shot? Now, mental standards, let’s talk about that. How have mental standards been lowered because of women being in the military? You are making a claim with zero examples and zero facts. What mental standards are you even talking about? Are you calling women weak minded or dumb? I can’t tell what your intent is behind that statement.
4. “Yes, women can and do serve admirably in our military, but they are not as effective in many front-line positions. That is also simply a fact.” So what I got from this is I can just say something is a fact and you should take my word for it. NO EVIDENCE YET AGAIN. Here’s some evidence of women being beyond effective in front-line positions. Jeannie Leavitt, the first female fighter pilot served in Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. Heather Penney flew F-16s was a 9/11 first responder. Don’t tell me women are not as effective in front-line positions when there are many examples to refute that.
Now let’s move on to your next few comments about our “social agenda” and “politically correct cancer.” Race is highlighted constantly, and would you like to know why? Because of people like you. You claim that standards have been lowered for one ethnic group against another. What are you even talking about? This comment is racist and severely inaccurate. Race is highlighted here because there’s clearly still an issue in this world, and if you think it is not an issue, then Sir, newsflash, that’s because YOU ARE THE ISSUE. You say all of this is cancerous; so you are telling me equality and respect is cancerous? No. You are wrong.
You also say “Social justice is not a military function.” If we don’t fight for social justice then why are we fighting? We defend those who are oppressed. We defend those who are slaughtered on the streets because they are the wrong religion or color. We defend freedom. Don’t tell me the military has no interest in social justice when that’s literally what we fight for. Training social justice leaders is EXACTLY what our academies should be doing. If you aren’t standing up for social justice, then your character is flawed, and you should not be in the military. Today’s Air Force is working towards a culture of respect so that our trust in each other as airmen is far stronger than it has ever been. How can you trust someone with your life if you can’t even trust them to even respect you?
You then go on to speak of two Navy ships that collided. You say, “I don’t know if service academy grads were involved, but a lack of accountability for underperformance is rampant in our armed forces.” YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IF SERVICE ACADEMY GRADS WERE
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I don't buy the "women are better shots" line. I believe I'm correct in saying that the best Olympic shooters are men, not women, although there's tremendous overlap. Also, how many female snipers are in the military?
I am a skip reader at best so if the example next under was mentioned, apologies.
A recent rape accusation made by a female USMA cadet against a male. The accusation was upheld. In later proceedings the event was determined to be consensual. The male was reinstated.
Question: Is not screwing one's classmate some kind of violation of the honor code? Why are (to the best of my admittedly meager knowledge) the two still at the Academy? Where does this manner of excrement leave the subordinates of the future?
This article is right on the money. I served in Vietnam in MACV and in Iraq as a contractor. The Army I saw in Iraq wasn't th e same as the one in Iraq. There the Army would try to avoid a fight.
I witnessed a patrol that had Georgian (ex USSR) troops with the US Army. They took fire from bad guys in a house. The Army officer wanted to call in an air strike. The Georgian officer told him to wait. He told one of his NCOs to take care of the house. The NCO grabbed a satchel charge zig zagged at the run, tossed the charge through a window. End of problem. What would our Academy trained officers do in the same situation?
To E T Gwynn: Better question. Why didn't the falsely accusing women face the same penalty as the man would have faced? Oh yeah, this is the US, never mind....
I think the military would be better off closing the academies all together. Develop the officer corps from ROTC and develop a system of advancement, education and attainment from the ranks.
What's needed is accountability.
Academy grads end up networking their way through the service for the rest of their careers.
Economically, obtaining officers through the ROTC program, including scholarships, likely would also be much cheaper in the long run.
Obtaining a diversity of backgrounds improves the adaptability of the military tremendously.
The military is notorious for preparing to fight the last war. That has worked in the past, but now we're in a period of rapid technological change.
The military has put a lot of emphasis on military drill, and an admiral advanced the case that he was successful in his career and life through his book, "Make your bed".
Although I'm all for cleanliness, military courtesy, the academies seem to go overboard with emphasis on things like making the blankets on a cot tight enough to bounce a quarter off of.
Meanwhile the US is losing wars. They blame it on politics, but is it winning to spend 18 years in Afghanistan.
How about Iraq, was it a victory. Still trying to settle issues there, which turned out to be much more complicated than winning battles. There was an article in the Atlantic, "General Failure", which placed the blame for America's disastrous wars on inept leadership, too many generals, a culture of mediocrity. It's a little older, 2012, and the Atlantic could be considered a highly critical platform, but still, worth reading as constructive criticism.
The academies are set up to produce a military that fights in the traditional role, the set piece battles which characterized warfare since Napoleon. A book by Sean McFate, The New Rules of War. He points out the wars of recent times have nothing to do with the traditional approach to warfare, that Putin won in Crimea with "little green men", and there wasn't a gigantic tank battle to decide the issue. He's highly critical of the F35 and similar projects, and advances the case that most of the contemporary wars are being fought in the shadows by special forces type troops or even totally unaffiliated with military, mercenaries sometimes or forces that are referred to as terrorists or secret forces. That modern warfare really can't even be fought by national armies following traditional rules, that casualties aren't tolerated in the US. He's admirable of the French Foreign Legion, a highly professional force, and that the US needs a similar contingent.
In the future, even the here and now, the academies aren't preparing the leadership for the wars we're actually involved in, that most conflicts are different, perhaps being waged by mercenary armies, drug cartels or narco-states, or even wealthy individuals and/or corporations, which can't depend on national armies for defense of assets any more since they often totally incompetent.
It's time to develop new leadership which is able to deal with real world situations, not wars that we're probably never going to fight because the other side is determined to win.
That letter sounds nearly retarded. She's at the AF Academy and she still thinks war = shooting in her branch of the service?
Did physical strength suddenly become irrelevant in the military? They don't do anything in the AF requiring speed or strength? Not to say a woman can't compensate with other abilities, but to pretend it's irrelevant is daft.
She doesn't understand that her chain of command will convey the social justice imperatives if any and it's her job to complete her mission? Or is it OK in today's military for members to make their own decisions in these matters and engage on whatever side feels right to them?