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Posted on Sep 22, 2019 Print this Article

New Book: What Military Social Justice Warriors Have Done to Our Military

During the Obama Administration, Pentagon appointees assigned higher priority to social engineering than they did to mission readiness and combat lethality.  The new book Stand Down: How Social Justice Warriors are Sabotaging America’s Military, reviewed here, exposes how much damage was done and why it must be fixed:

Stand Down should be required reading at the White House, the Pentagon, the military service academies, war colleges, and all the ships at sea.  The book challenges the White House, Department of Defense, and members of Congress to change direction and strengthen our military before it is too late.

 What Servicemen and Women Were Not Asked and Could Not Tell

Attorney James Hasson, a Ranger-trained former Army Captain and decorated veteran of Afghanistan, has written a game-changing book titled Stand Down: How Social Justice Warriors are Sabotaging America’s Military

Hasson is a reporter of contemporary history of social change in the military – a story that “woke” journalists working for major media rarely report.  Hasson’s 226-page book connects all the dots with solid citations, new information, and first-hand testimony.  The result is a jaw-dropping picture of national defense being weakened by political correctness. 

As the author states, “This is the story of what will be President Obama’s enduring legacy: the sacrifice of the combat readiness of our armed forces to the golden calves of identity politics and progressive ideology.”

Hasson fearlessly challenges military and civilian leaders at all levels to focus their eyes on the damage done to our military by “social justice warriors.”  These “hard-left ideologues, also known as “SJWs,” were empowered to run the Department of Defense under President Barack Obama

The book identifies several high-level SJWs, such as Ray Mabus, Deborah Lee James, and Eric Fanning, Secretaries of the Navy/Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army, respectively, and exposes a series of disasters that resulted from their progressive policies. 

While they were in office, SJW Pentagon appointees showed little concern about military core values, morale, high standards, and overall readiness.  Instead, they worked with like-minded defense secretaries to “transform” the military into what one officer called “a laboratory for progressive social engineering.”

Mabus Takes “Diversity” to Extremes

Hasson focuses particular attention on Ray Mabus, the longest-serving and worst Secretary of the Navy ever.  Mabus was an environmental activist who wasted millions trying to convert the fleet to expensive, inefficient bio-fuels.  He also raised eyebrows by naming new Navy ships after left-wing activists such as Cesar Chavez and Harvey Milk.

When former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen declared, “Diversity is a strategic imperative,” Ray Mabus enthusiastically agreed.  This concept, set forth in the 2011 report of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), was officially imposed on all the services with directives mandating percentage-based demographic “gender diversity metrics,” another name for quotas.

Mabus also pushed to increase the number of ships while downsizing personnel and cutting corners on crew training.  A few months after Mabus finally left office, multiple crew errors on two Navy ships, the USS Fitzgerald and USS John McCain, led to collisions with commercial ocean vessels at night, leaving a total of 17 sailors dead.  The crews involved were gender diverse, but that didn’t matter.

Pentagon social justice warriors set percentage-based gender diversity quotas of 25% women in all branches of the service (10% in the Marine Corps).  Achieving these goals meant that minimally qualified women would have to be assigned to direct ground combat units such as the infantry on the same involuntary basis as men.  The impact on mission readiness and combat lethality simply was not a factor when SJWs issued their extreme, politically correct mandates.

The SJWs also found it necessary to “validate” standards that would be “gender-neutral” but lower than before – all while denying that anything had changed.  Because the military’s “masculinist” culture was labeled suspect, SJWs ordered mandatory “unconscious bias” and “sensitivity training” at all levels. 

Unequal Risks for Women

Ironically, instruction programs sent mixed messages about the acceptability of violence against women, as long as it happens at the hands of the enemy.  Hasson’s book explains why the SJWs deliberately exposed military women to disproportionate risks of debilitating physical injury, rationalizing acceptance of elevated risks of mission failures on the battlefield.

The social justice warriors’ goal was not to help women; it was to achieve demographic, percentage-based “gender diversity metrics,” another name for quotas.  To them, it did no matter that in a 2014 Army survey, 92.5% of women said they wanted nothing to do with combat arms assignments in the infantry. 

One Obama-era official offered another rationale.  Someday, he told Hasson, we will see a female Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Nothing stands in the way of that happening now.  For decades, military women have been promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.  There is no compelling reason to expose unwilling women to much higher risks and injury rates, just to advance the theoretical careers of a favored few female officers.

Obama-era Defense Department SJWs had free rein to ride what Hasson calls “progressive hobbyhorses,” and they got away with it because military personnel must follow orders and Congress looked the other way.  Men and women were forced to participate in social experiments that they knew would make their lives more difficult and more dangerous, but they had no way to dissent. 

James Hasson recognized the problem and went out to interview, in confidence, military personnel who were most harmed by progressive policies under which they would live and sometimes die. 

Scientific Research Ignored or Skewed by Politics

When the Pentagon announced the Obama Administration’s intent to abolish women’s exemption from ground combat (infantry) units, the Marine Corps initiated three years of scientifically monitored field tests designed to prove that mixed-gender combat units could perform equally well in physically demanding tasks simulating armor, artillery, and infantry direct ground combat operations.

The tests, however, proved the opposite.  As CMR reported in a Statement for the Senate Armed Services Committee, during nine months of scientifically monitored tests at a rugged west-coast Marine base, independent experts tracked and reported significant differences in physical strength, endurance, and rates of injury for above-average women teamed with average men performing typical combat tasks. 

Because all-male units outperformed mixed-gender ones in 69% of combat simulating tasks, then Marine Commandant General Joseph Dunford exercised his option to ask for exceptions to keep some units – reportedly infantry battalions and Special Operations Forces – all-male. 

Hasson used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain General Dunford’s request for exceptions, but the copy of General Dunford’s Memorandum to the Secretary of the Navy, which Hasson received and quoted in Stand Down, was strategically redacted and missing several sections, apparently to hide the full, inconvenient truth. 

This is the first time that parts of this document, titled “US Marine Corps Assessment of Women in Service Assignments,” have seen the light of day.  Still, as CMR has been said many times in seeking the September 2015 Dunford Memorandum, the public interest demands that then-Marine Commandant Dunford’s request for exceptions and the rationale behind it should be released in full. 

Navy Secretary Mabus did not visit the field test sites and reportedly spent zero time reading Dunford’s request or considering the rationale behind it.  The decision, obviously, had already been made.

Meanwhile, Army officials used the historically tough Ranger training course to support the same pre-determined political objective.  Stand Down amplifies the voices of Hasson’s known but unnamed sources who provided powerful testimony and contemporaneous training records showing that performance evaluations had been adjusted to ensure that the women would not fail.  

Despite earnest denials from Army officials who tried to bully a female journalist who was aware of the story, female trainees repeatedly were forgiven major errors that would have caused men to be dropped at any time during three phases of Ranger training.  Thanks to Hasson’s sources’ foresight and willingness to risk their careers telling what really happened, we now know that one of the female trainees was given a passing grade even though she had “lost” one of her charges on patrol, making it necessary to terminate the entire mission.

This matters because the error was serious, and the highly publicized graduation of two women was hailed as “proof” that female soldiers could and should be assigned to infantry squads and battalions that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.  These practices betrayed both the women and combat experienced soldiers who knew the truth and saw it being ignored.

Some Army instructors contacted Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), a highly decorated infantry lieutenant colonel and Ranger graduate, telling him that compromises were made to ensure that women would make it through Ranger training.

Congressman Russell asked to see training records that would resolve the question one way or the other, but Secretary of the Army John McHugh stalled for weeks before telling Russell that the women’s easily accessible records had been shredded.

America’s “Woke” Military

The agendas of social justice warriors affected all aspects of military life, from service academies offering radical leftist instructors and “safe spaces” for midshipmen to medical facilities ordered to accommodate persons identifying as transgender or suffering from gender dysphoria. 

Hasson’s book notes that members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had resisted mandates from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to accommodate persons identifying as transgender or suffering from gender dysphoria, but they were not allowed to discuss negative consequences. 

Pentagon data gathered during the months when Obama administration’s transgender policy was in effect showed that persons identifying as transgender were more likely to take excessive time off for expensive hormone treatments and sometimes surgeries that many military doctors and nurses considered unethical.

Hasson’s interview with retired Army Colonel Ron Crews, a former chaplain, revealed that in a conference call, Defense Personnel & Readiness Under Secretary Anthony Kurta told a group of chaplains that the Obama policy meant that transgender soldiers would be allowed to serve according to their “gender identity,” not their biological sex.  Hasson quotes Kurta’s explicit comment to Crews and other chaplains: “There will be mixed genitalia in military bathrooms, showers, and billeting.” 

When Colonel Crews asked what would happen to an 18-year-old Christian female who complained about being assigned to a two-person billet with a biological male, Kurta confirmed that she would be in the wrong and would have no recourse. 

When Crews asked whether such policies might hurt recruiting, Kurta replied, “I believe Americans will be proud that our military is leading the way in this social transformation.”  Social justice warriors, it seems, don’t respect election results that don’t suit their agendas.

Trump Takes First Steps in the Right Direction

The Trump Administration studied the transgender issue for six months before President Trump accepted recommendations from former Defense Secretary James Mattis for a nuanced policy that focuses on the medical condition called gender dysphoria. 

Lawsuits ensued almost immediately, and the same SJW officials responsible for Obama transgender policies signed amicus briefs in support of lower court orders declaring President Trump’s policies unconstitutional, even before they were finalized formally.

Early in 2019 the Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling allowing the Trump/Mattis policy to proceed pending further litigation.  The outcome cannot be predicted with certainty, but the administration has a good chance to prevail, if the Department of Justice continues to wage a strong fight.

Hasson makes it clear, however, that more needs to be done. 

Chapter: “It’s Now or Never”

Hasson challenges the Trump Administration to roll back the misguided Obama-era “reforms” to the military before it is too late.

As stated by a current Army major and infantryman who has deployed to Iraq multiple times, “The Trump administration needs to have the moral courage to stop the Obama-era social experiments and reverse them entirely.” 

At a minimum, President Trump must re-establish mission readiness and combat lethality as the Pentagon’s primary goal.  The Commander-in-Chief also should replace Obama-era Social Justice Warriors with responsible Pentagon officials who will implement orders to discontinue social engineering in the military.

Hasson challenges military leaders to speak the truth about sensitive subjects and calls on Congress to start asking solid questions about military problems and failures that are the direct result of social experiments. 

Both Congress and the Administration should start by releasing, examining, and honoring General Dunford’s request for exceptions to gender-mixed infantry mandates and follow procedures for making reassignments and restoring sound policy without harming women’s careers.

Because we have civilian control of our military, the American people must guard the integrity of the military as one of our most prized institutions.  National security depends on the All-Volunteer Force.  Voters must elect and support a President and members of Congress and the Senate who will restore sound priorities and stop the imposition of needless burdens on the backs on men and women who volunteer to serve. 

The first step in solving a problem is to identify what it is.  The book Stand Down does that very well.  It could also inspire political will and courageous leadership to put military readiness first.

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The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  To make a tax-deductible contribution to CMR, using the secure donation page on, click here.  A copy of James Hasson’s book Stand Down will be provided to contributors of $100 or more.



Posted on Sep 22, 2019 Print this Article