Tuberville Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Navy’s Bud Light Moment

“Amid a recruitment crisis, the military brass are preoccupied with woke identity politics.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) authored the following op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today highlighting U.S. military leadership’s misplaced and divisive priorities that do nothing to address national security or issues facing the military.

Senator Tuberville has repeatedly argued that the U.S. military is too focused on political and cultural issues rather than readiness and lethality. Senator Tuberville believes those misplaced priorities have contributed to the military’s unprecedented recruitment shortfall.

Excerpts from the op-ed can be found below, and the full text is available here.

The U.S. Navy’s Bud Light Moment

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville

The Wall Street Journal

May 4, 2023


“The Senate Armed Services Committee heard chilling testimony Tuesday from the Government Accountability Office: The Navy’s ship-maintenance backlog tops $1.8 billion; its aircraft are aging; American shipyards are in poor condition. The U.S. Navy is in decline. Contrast that with China’s military surge. The Pentagon’s most recent China Military Power report shows that China’s army, navy and space assets are accelerating at a pace one American four-star admiral called ‘breathtaking.’ China already has the largest navy in the world and it’s getting larger.”

“It gets worse. The U.S. military now faces an unprecedented crisis of recruitment. In the 50-year history of the all-volunteer force, the services have never missed their recruitment goals—until last year. The Army fell 15,000 recruits short of its goal last year—that’s an entire division. This is in addition to the 8,000 enlisted service members who were kicked out because they didn’t comply with President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Reports show this year’s recruiting may be even worse, with four of the six military branches on track to miss their recruitment goals.”

“As I told the Navy’s top officer, Adm. Michael Gilday, in a Senate hearing last month, I respect everyone who serves this country. My issue isn’t a sailor’s sexual orientation or gender. My concern is that our new national obsession with sexuality, race and gender is focused on self rather than on purpose, ability or service. I spent 40 years recruiting young men to play football. What the Navy is doing isn’t a good recruiting strategy.”

“The contrast between the parties on this question couldn’t be clearer. Republicans are focused on the enlisted ranks—the people who actually fight our wars—while Democrats are worried about the people at the very top. The lowest-paid person affected by my hold would make $240,000 a year, yet Ms. Warren said she is worried about the nominees running out of ‘grocery money.’ I haven’t heard a word from her about recruiting enlisted service members—the people the Army said should go on food stamps to cope with inflation.”

“What we’re doing right now isn’t working. The military is having a Bud Light moment. Secretary Austin and his Democratic allies in Congress need to wake up before it gets even worse.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.