I’m sure many readers are familiar with the “Communist at West Point” scandal that erupted some time ago. It’s eerily reminiscent of the neglect into which many US military institutions had fallen at the time of Pearl Harbor, as we mentioned in passing this morning. The consequences of such neglect were also visible in the accidents suffered by several US Navy Seventh Fleet warships over the past year, and the removal of several senior and Flag officers as a result.
However, not everyone is familiar with the devastating critique of US Special Forces that was released about ten days ago, purportedly by actual SF instructors. If their allegations are correct, then US SF has become a hotbed of political correctness, cronyism and careerism. Here are a few excerpts from a long document.
SWCS [Special Warfare Center and School] has devolved into a cesspool of toxic, exploitive, biased and self-serving senior Officers who are bolstered by submissive, sycophantic, and just-as-culpable enlisted leaders. They have doggedly succeeded in two things; furthering their careers, and ensuring that Special Forces more prolific, but dangerously less capable than ever before. Shameless and immodest careerism has, in no uncertain terms, effectively destroyed our ability to assess, train, and prepare students, or to identify those students that pose very real risk to Operational Detachments. I cannot stress how systematic and severe the effects on the force will be if the standards, recently implemented here in the Special Forces Qualification Course, remain in place.
. . .
In the last 24 months, Commanders and/or Sergeants Major at the Group and SWCS level have systematically removed numerous fundamental SF standards, lowered and undermined the grading metrics for others, all while simultaneously ensuring that a gagged cadre population was expressly prohibited from holding students accountable for their academic, physical, and character performance … The issue is that career-focused leaders, far removed from team life, have no ‘skin in the game’ and thus do not concern themselves with the problems inherent in employing subpar soldiers in a no-fail environment: where individual limitation creates team-wide catastrophe, often with international repercussions. Their responsibilities involve ensuring that yearly graduation quotas are met and that political agendas are enforced. They do not concern themselves with ensuring that students are capable of surviving the rigors of combat … Ignorance of their interference in this endeavor might be forgivable, but they have been told by the operational force numerous times what issues these policies would create, and chose career progression instead. As you will read, this moral cowardice started in the preceding command, and is shared by every current Commander and Sergeant Major at the Group and SWCS level.
. . .
Students are being shown, time and time again, that the standards can be fudged. That failure is not a big deal. That if they fail they will get special treatment, or they can know the right person, or they can just try again; sometimes as often as 6 times before getting it right. We try to enforce that this is not so, that in Group you often only have one shot. But we can’t overcome the atmosphere of forgiveness and compliance that this place now breeds. The good students, through no fault of their own, don’t get taught the importance of first-time success. The bad students, visibly increasing in number, embrace it and are bringing it to Group. We are trying, but the commanders have the authority, and they are abusing it.
This is the next generation of Special Forces. In just a few years, most of our regiment will be a product of this foundation. We will become a brotherhood of parasites: devoid of any real character, feeding off of the achievements those before us earned, and consuming the heritage as a whole. We can cure it, but it needs to happen now. We need to take back ownership of our profession.
Help us fix this mess. The Regiment’s legacy depends on it.
There’s more at the link. Essential reading for all concerned with the state of readiness of the US military.
One presumes that General Mattis, the current Secretary of Defense, has been made aware of these accusations, and is probably doing something about them already. (He has that reputation, for which thanks be to God!) One hopes that those who’ve systematically disgraced all that Special Forces should be will soon have their own ‘Pearl Harbor moment’, career-wise, and that these problems can be fixed.
(I might add that, although I’ve never been in Special Forces, I worked alongside them in a number of support roles from time to time in another country. The selection and training standards there were very high indeed, aided by the fact that all those ‘trying out’ knew that they would be going into combat – no question about it. Their future team-mates knew that, too, and made sure that those who made it through the selection and training pipeline were worthy to join them and be trusted with the lives of their comrades. The dropout rate was sometimes astronomically high, but operational standards and exploits justified it. For the compelling war history of one of those units, see here. I’m here to tell you – that history is true.)