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Posted on Feb 10, 2022 Print this Article

Critical Military Theory: Classic Principles Betrayed by Critical Race Theory and “Diversity” Taken to Extremes

A distinguished retired Marine three-star officer has written a superb commentary that should be required reading at the military service academies, officer basic and advanced courses, command and general staff colleges, war colleges, and officer candidate schools.    

The article, published on the military website Task & Purpose, draws a sharp contrast between classic, proven principles, which Newbold calls “Critical Military Theory,” with woke ideology and Critical Race Theory (CRT) programs that are firmly entrenched in today's Department of Defense.  Controversial CRT instructions, which divide groups of people by their race, are toxic in military environments where unit cohesion depends on mutual trust and respect.

General Newbold’s piece summarizes nine essential ingredients of a competent military force.  Each point is supported by brief, insightful comments and examples of “Relevant Wisdom” – quotations and classic aphorisms that military personnel at all levels should know:

1.  The U.S. Military has two main purposes – to deter our enemies from engaging us in warfare, and if that fails, to defeat them in combat.

2.  To be true to its purpose, the U.S. military cannot be a mirror image of the society it serves.

3.  There is only one overriding standard for military capability: lethality.

4.  A military should not be designed to win but to overwhelm.

5.  Wars must be waged only with stone-cold pragmatism, not idealism, and fought only when critical national interests are at stake.

6.  A military’s force’s greatest strengths are cohesion and discipline.  Individuality or group identity is corrosive and a centrifugal force.

7.  ‘The enemy gets a vote.’

8.  Infantry and special operations forces are different.

9.  Those who enlist in our military swear an oath to carry out dangerous, sometimes fatal duties. . . .Those who occupy the most senior ranks of the military must repay this selflessness with courage that is even rarer – moral courage.

DoD Stuck on Diversity and DIE

In contrast, the Department of Defense continues to issue obsessive statements about “Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity” (DIE), causing some pushback in unofficial venues:

The Center for Military Readiness put the spotlight on possible consequences of imposing the DIE agenda on the military’s most elite Special Operations Forces.

More recently, CMR also reported that predicted consequences of DIE mandates appear to be playing out in one of the Special Operations Forces communities:

To date, military media outlets have yet to draw the connection between DIE mandates and new "norms" that result in standards  that are "equal" but lower than before.

The contrast between General Newbold’s clear historic knowledge and the Pentagon’s current “woke” thinking is stunning.  Newbold’s article concludes:

“We have witnessed extraordinary and sacrificial service by our Armed Forces – too good to squander by confusing our military’s purpose with those of individuals who don’t pay in blood for their errors.  And too good for a foe to misjudge our intrinsic toughness.  In any case, these are not Critical Military Theories; they are Critical Military Facts.”

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The Center for Military Readiness is an independent, non-partisan public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  More information is available at

Posted on Feb 10, 2022 Print this Article