The Pentagon’s political priorities – WSJ


Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment during armored fighting vehicle readiness in Vilseck, Germany, Feb.


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Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

The world seems more dangerous every day, so let’s check out the people responsible for defending America. Biden’s Defense Department hasn’t released a national defense strategy, and the Pentagon can’t adjust its priorities while it’s stuck in ongoing congressional budget resolutions. But the military is spending time and effort announcing its new plan to fight the invisible enemy of climate change.

“Climate change endangers national and economic security, as well as the health and well-being of the American people,” states the Army’s first-ever climate strategy. Among the stated objectives: a 50% reduction in net pollution by the army’s greenhouse gases by 2030; install a microgrid in every facility by 2035; and convert its fleet of non-tactical vehicles (vans, for example) to all-electric by 2035.

The military presents this as a natural extension of its mission to plan and fight wars, although nothing in less reliable energy sources or more expensive logistics makes the military a better fighting force. The Pentagon insists it can fight climate change while dealing with threats like Russia and China, but focus is a finite resource and the service has far more pressing priorities.

The Army’s budget has been flat or shrinking for years after inflation, even as the land branch attempts to modernize much of its 1980s equipment. Some in Washington are eager to split the Army for fund a larger navy to deal with China, but the service of 485,000 soldiers would be healthier at 500,000. As the saying goes, no one knows where the next war will be.

But fear not, the Pentagon is also on high alert over identity politics. This week he issued a press release on the “need for diversity, equity and inclusion to be considered or part of all decisions in the military.”

In a recent speech, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher reviewed the questionable social science and flawed logic behind the Pentagon’s fixation on fairness. As he said, “We’re lucky to draw from a diverse population, but we don’t want the US military to look like a cross section of the population.” We want it to be the best and the brightest. The United States military is an elite, meritocratic organization where only the fittest, disciplined, and deadliest individuals should thrive, regardless of skin color.

He added: “Real strength – physical strength, mental strength and overall end strength – is our strength.”

Papers on climate change or bromides on diversity are more mood associations than concrete plans, but they raise questions about a politicized military. An army that strays from its primary mission is not one that will attract the public funding and support it needs to defend the country against proliferating threats.

China’s hypersonic missile test demonstrates that the next great war will use cyberattacks and unmanned vehicles striking from afar. So far, the Biden administration is ignoring the warning signs. Images: EPA/Shutterstock/Getty Images Composition: Mark Kelly

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Appeared in the print edition of February 12, 2022.


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