A woke military denigrating religious Americans is “like a college football coach walking into a recruit’s house and calling mom’s wallpaper ugly.”
WASHINGTON — In a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing today focused on recruiting challenges facing the United States military, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) questioned Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven about woke training materials and challenged Under Secretary of the Army Gabriel Camarillo to use modern technology to improve his services’ lousy recruiting figures.
Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s line of questioning can be found below, and the full video can be found here.
ON TRAINING MATERIALS:
TUBERVILLE: “I want to ask about some of the Navy’s training materials. In his first act as SECDEF, Secretary Austin ordered a stand-down for training on extremism in the ranks. Each service had to give this training, correct?”
RAVEN: “That’s correct, sir.”
TUBERVILLE: “How many Navy sailors received that training, you think?”
RAVEN: “I believe that was force wide. So, all sailors, all Marines.”
TUBERVILLE: “Active and reserve?”
RAVEN: “I believe so, sir.”
TUBERVILLE: “That’s about 350,000 people in the Navy alone. Are you familiar with the training overall?”
RAVEN: “Generally. I’m not familiar with each product, sir.”
TUBERVILLE: “Okay, our office obtained a copy of the brief that was given to every single sailor and officer in the U.S. Navy. One slide says, and I quote, ‘I come from a very conservative religious family and have views on marriage, abortion, and LGBTQ rights that are often not considered “mainstream” but are in keeping with my religious beliefs. I often discuss these issues online and on social media forum maintained by my church. Will I get in trouble for my posts?’ Are you familiar with this Navy training that went out to all of our sailors?”
RAVEN: “I’m not familiar with that part, sir.”
TUBERVILLE: “Okay, I’ve a got a slide I would like to submit for the record. ‘Mainstream’ means ‘normal.’ So, the Navy is implying here that conservative religious people are abnormal. That kind of concerns me. Mr. Raven, 65 percent of the American population identify as Christian. And another 4 percent of Americans are Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu. The vast majority of this country—the Navy’s recruiting pool—is religious. The Navy spending millions of man hours on a training that blatantly calls many of its service members abnormal and then being surprised that recruiting numbers are down, would be like a college football coach walking into a recruit’s house and calling mom’s wallpaper ugly. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense. I know a little bit about recruiting and I think we’ve got to do a lot better job than that.”
ON PATHWAY TO SERVICE INITIATIVE:
TUBERVILLE: “Mr. Camarillo, the total Army – active, reserve, and National Guard — has a recruiting challenge. I think we all agree with that, and we are all watching it. The active component missed its target by the largest margin in American history in 2022. There are a lot of reasons for that, and we all understand that many of my colleagues have hammered that home, I won’t repeat that. Everyone in this room, along with most Americans want to see you and the Army succeed. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. I want to shift gears here for a moment. A new recruiting ribbon is not going to cut it. A promotion point scheme that has a very little conversion rate is not going to be good enough. We’ve got to find new ways. We’ve got to think bigger. In June 2021, the Supreme Court opened the door for the Army and every service to marry national service with participation in collegiate athletics. Private tech companies have demonstrated repeatedly to Army senior leaders the capability to identify, access, and assign America’s high school student-athletes who wish to continue their education and athletics careers collegiately in exchange for national service. I think we’re missing the boat here if we don’t look at that. It’s not ROTC. It’s a 21st century pathway to service. It’s a strategy and tactic guaranteed to produce a well-educated, physically capable, coachable, and aspiring fighting force every year. 45,000 men and women at the Division I level alone are eligible. Can I get your word here today that you will investigate this pathway?”
CAMARILLO: “Senator Tuberville, I just want to say, first of all, the number of efforts that we’re undertaking in the Army to address the recruiting challenge are far greater than just the recruiting ribbon. A number of efforts to improve how we attract people, the recruiting workforce, where we station them, how we train them in addition to surge of marketing and advertising, other incentives for people to join. It is a whole of Army approach to try to address this significant challenge. But certainly, I’d be willing to work with you and look forward to discussing that proposal.”
TUBERVILLE: “Thank you very much. Imagination. We got to start using it. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”
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.