The U.S. Navy is suffering from upper-level leaders who are focused more on teaching personnel how to get along with each other than they are in training them to fight wars, retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, one of the people who worked on a report on the branch's readiness, said on Newsmax Wednesday.
"If you compare us to our NATO allies, our Asian allies, they don't have their officers and sailors spending hundreds of hours a year and classroom environments making sure that they know how to how to act around each other," Montgomery told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We assume they assume a certain level of maturity."
The report, which was conducted at the direction of Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, revealed after a series of long-form interviews with active-duty and recently retired or detached officers and enlisted personnel that the Navy's bureaucracy has shifted away from warfighting.
"The real kicker in this is the idea that while we're in the middle of operational deployment, our ships are doing training on all kinds of administrative kinds of issues instead of focusing on warfighting," said Montgomery. "That is bad decision-making at the senior level."
Montgomery said the report came after several long-form interviews, and while it was understood that there is an "underinvestment in training" and that "we had poorly resourced our surface ship maintenance," it wasn't yet understood that there was a "lack of focus" on warfighting, which the men and women in the Navy ships' crews understood
"The ships no longer had a number-one priority and focus, the kind of focus you need to have on fighting the Chinese Navy at sea," said Montgomery.
And while former President Donald Trump spent billions on military funding and invested heavily in the armed forces, there was a "disconnect" in the distribution of money within the Department of Defense and then in the Department of the Navy, said Montgomery.
"Part of this is Navy decision making," said Montgomery. "Part of this is poor investments on occasion."
The problems haven't just started, but have been growing over the past 25 years, since the mid-1990s, and have reached a critical point now, he added.
"There's a lot of complicating factors in this, but I would say part of the problem exists with Navy leadership," Montgomery said. "Part of the problem exists with the Department of Defense leadership, then some rests with Congress and how we appropriate the funds."
He added that the interviews were done before the latest "woke" controversies on critical race theory and other matters became hotly debated matters, but instead showed a lack of commitment that the Navy's leaders must have when it comes to training.
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