Republican Sen. Josh Hawley on Thursday accused the Pentagon of preparing U.S. armed forces for culture wars rather than real wars after their humiliating ‘defeat’ against British Royal Marines in a training exercise.
U.S. forces had to ask for a ‘reset’ halfway through the five-day mock battle in the Mojave Desert as they took heavy simulated losses.
It comes with the Pentagon already under intense scrutiny, following the hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban takeover.
And this week the US Navy fired a nuclear submarine’s commanding Officer, executive Officer and chief of the boat for after their vessel collided with an ‘uncharted seamount’ in the South China Sea.
Hawley said competitors such as China would be baffled by the U.S. approach.
‘They’re probably wondering why it is that people like General Milley and Secretary Austin spend so much time recommending books on white rage, on critical race theory and are not more focused on warfighting,’ he told the ‘Ingraham Angle’ on Fox News.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sparked fury earlier this year when he said he wanted to understand ‘white rage’ and why thousands of people attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in January.
During the same House hearing, the country’s first Black secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, also defended the military’s efforts to address racism and extremism.
Hawley said Pentagon leadership should let warfighters do what they are best at.
‘I mean, here’s my view, Lord, we’ve got the best soldiers, airmen, Marines in the entire world,’ he said.
‘Our soldiers are amazing warfighters. Let them fight,’ he said.
‘Train them to fight. Let them do what they do best and stop using the military as a giant social experiment, which is what the left seems to want.’
Republicans have kept a steady stream of accusations that the Pentagon is following a ‘woke’ agenda.
Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Jim Inhofe, wrote to Gen. Milley this week expressing their ‘grave concern.’
‘The world is a more dangerous place than ever in our lifetime…Yet today, efforts to recruit, train, and equip a ready and lethal force often appear to take a back seat to the Department of Defense’s ‘Climate Adaptation Plan,’ ‘Countering Extremism Working Group,’ and discussions of critical race theory,’ they wrote.
‘Although the actual costs associated with each of these undertakings is certainly cause for concern, the opportunity cost they have and continue to visit on the force, its readiness, and morale appears nothing short of devastating—particularly in light of current threats.’
Earlier this week, it emerged that U.S. forces had suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of British Royal Marines.
British forces took part in a five-day mock battle at the US Marine Corps’ Twentynine Palms base in southern California, one of the largest military training areas in the world, and achieved a decisive victory against their American counterparts.
The Royal Marines, along with allied forces from Canada, the Netherlands and the UAE, destroyed or rendered inoperable nearly every US asset and finished the exercise holding more than 65 per cent of the training area, after beginning with less than 20 per cent.
Combatants used paintball-style training ammunition, which fires with reduced pressure and velocity, along with hi-tech simulators for heavier firepower like artillery, and live ammo on expansive ranges.
Seeing no opportunity for victory, American combatants asked for the exercise to be ‘reset’ halfway through the five-day exercise, having taken significant casualties from British commandos.
A U.S. Marine Corps spokesperson, disputed any suggestion that British troops won.
‘”Winners” are never determined,’ Capt. Zachary Colvin, the communications and strategy director with the Marine Air Ground Combat Center, told Military Times in a statement.
‘This exercise does not provide an opportunity to “surrender,” “keep score,” or “reset.”
‘The objective of the exercise is to heighten unit performance and increase readiness.’
Even so, it follows other embarrassments.
Some 11 crew members were injured at the start of October when the nuclear powered submarine USS Connecticut hit a seamount – a mountain rising from the ocean floor.
An investigation concluded the collision could have been avoided with ‘sound judgement, prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning.’
That will reinforce Republican accusations that readiness is suffering, along with the result in the Mojava desert.
Troops from they UK’s 3 Commando Brigade and Taunton-based 40 Commando had spent the last two months in the Mojave Desert preparing for deployments next year.
Their time in the US culminated with the five-day simulated conflict Green Dagger, which is designed to test the US Marine Corps prior to units deploying overseas.
The mock battlefield covers more than 3,500 square kilometres of mountainous and desert terrain, including urban settings where actors, who are not following a script, play civilians who can choose to help or hinder the military forces.
The Royal Marines trained with counterparts from the US, Canada, UAE and the Netherlands in the weeks before the main exercise.
The British forces achieved their victory by targeting the American headquarters and equipment, severely hampering the ability of US combatants to launch counter-attacks.
Artillery units also concentrated on eliminating vehicles and opposing artillery.
A long-range commando assault with fighter jet support eventually defeated the American forces, who had launched a last-minute attack but were repelled.
British forces were trialling the new Littoral Response Group (LRG) structure, which will be the new template for commandos – who are to become more flexible and mobile under reforms directed by First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.
LRGs are Royal Navy task groups centred around commando forces and set up to respond to world events.
Following the restructuring of the Marines, Nato’s northern and Baltic flanks will be covered by the UK-based LRG (North).
LRG (South), built around Taunton-based 40 Commando, will be based around Oman’s port of Duqm, operating with a focus on British military activity in the Indo-Pacific.
Each LRG will be capable of working with the carrier strike group to assemble an expeditionary strike force which can operate anywhere in the world.
The exercise focused around three urban sprawls which were defended by allied forces, the largest of which consisting of 1,200 buildings purpose built for military testing.
The Marines won decisive battles early on and gained ground from their enemy, but amid a US Marines counter-attack, commandos carried out raids behind enemy lines.
The exercise concluded with a last-minute assault by US forces, which was repelled.
‘Our success has proved the new commando force concept is more lethal and sophisticated than ever before and I am immensely proud of every member of the LRG and their vital contributions,’ said Lieutenant Colonel Andy Dow, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando.
‘Operating alongside our partners from the USA, Netherlands, Canada and the UAE gives us a fantastic opportunity to test, integrate and continue to push our capabilities in new and innovative directions.
‘Throughout this deployment our focus has been on integrating game-changing capabilities from across the commando force to deliver disproportional effect in the face of a free-thinking peer adversary.’