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Posted on Aug 20, 2020 Print this Article

Issue 62: August 2020

The corona virus crisis continues to prevent public business in the nation's capital, but sometimes a suspension of congressional activity is not a bad thing. Take, for example, legislation to "Draft Our Daughters," which was not taken up, for now. 

The articles below report news about a major court decision upholding young women's exemption from Selective Service registration, and a new CMR Policy Analysis describes the good, the bad, and matters of concern in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2021.

In a new article referenced below, CMR analyzes the consequences of imposing civilian “woke” indoctrination in military schools and institutions.  This Mallard Fillmore cartoon by Bruce Tinsley, published in the Washington Times on August 7, illustrates a trendy “critical race theory” course, which would be even more divisive in military environments.

CMR also has been working on issues surrounding transgenders in the military. In addition, we have good news to share about a 13-year-old student who understands the importance of high, uncompromised standards in naval aviation better than most professional reporters do.

CMR explains why these issues are important to our military - spotlighting aspects of the issues that have been largely overlooked in major media. Issues of concern to CMR are not going away, and the November election will determine what happens next.

* * * * *

 A. Federal Appeals Court Upholds Male-Only Military Draft

CMR is pleased to report that on August 13, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed long-standing litigation, filed by a men's rights group, demanding that young women be registered for Selective Service on the same basis as men.

The Court overturned a lower court decision in favor of the National Coalition for Men, unanimously ruling, "only the Supreme Court may revise its precedent."  In the landmark 1981 Rostker v. Goldberg ruling, the Supreme Court held that male-only registration did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Wrote the Fifth Circuit in its 6-page opinion, "The Court based its reasoning on the fact that women were then barred from serving in combat and deferred to Congress's considered judgment about how to run the military. . . Further, the Court rejected the district court's conclusion that women could be drafted in some number into noncombat positions without degrading the military's effectiveness, instead deferring to Congress's determination that the administrative and operations burdens of such an arrangement exceeded the utility."

The Court concluded, "Plaintiffs-Appellees point to no case in which a court of appeals has done what they ask of us, that is, to disregard a Supreme Court decision as to the constitutionality of the exact statute at issue here because some key facts implicated in the Supreme Court's decision have changed. That we will not do."

The judgment of the district court was reversed and the case dismissed. Plaintiffs may choose to petition for a re-hearing, but for now the big push to "Draft Our Daughters" is going nowhere.

B. No Action on National Commission Recommendations

As CMR predicted, in March the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service released a Final Report endorsing the idea of registering young women for Selective Service and a possible future draft. That recommendation was in the National Commission's Final Report and supported by the weakest possible rationale: "The time is right."

The Commission also produced a 222-page legislative proposal called the "Inspired to Serve Act of 2021," which was incorporated in a massive bill, HR 6415. That bill, which was referred to 13 different House committees, would require conscription of all young men and women for some sort of military or "national service."

CMR reported and analyzed these and other bad Commission ideas, but so far there has been no congressional action to pass the mislabeled Inspired to Serve Act, or to establish the recommended government agency empowered to commandeer the lives of young men and women for military or national service nationwide.

Action did go forward on the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) defense bill, however, and CMR has been providing useful information to policymakers throughout that process.

C. NDAA Proposals for Renaming Military Bases

Congress did not approve Selective Service legislation in House or Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2021. Nor did Congress repeal the 2018 DoD policy regarding transgenders and persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the military. (see below)

However, both Houses of Congress voted for controversial legislation to eliminate from military bases flags, monuments, and names associated with the Confederate States of America. Section 1749 of the House NDAA (H.R. 6395) would require the Secretary of Defense to prohibit the public display of the Confederate battle flag on all Defense Department property, with certain exceptions.

The legislation is unnecessary, since Defense Secretary Esper already has signed a Memorandum authorizing the display of military-related flags only, not including the Confederate flag. Esper's action simultaneously removed other flags and banners that are inherently divisive in military settings, such as flags celebrating sexual minorities, the controversial Black Lives Matter Global Network, white supremacists, anti-Semitic groups, and extremist political movements that advocate or engage in violence. Secretary Esper's policy should not be altered due to political pressures from divisive special interest groups.

President Donald Trump has pledged to veto the NDAA if it emerges from the House/Senate Conference Committee with the base re-naming language intact. CMR shares the President's concerns about the open-ended nature of the proposed legislative mandates to rename bases without careful thought.  What would be the criteria for name-changing and monument-removing activities, who would decide, and where would they end?

The July 21 Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) objects to base renaming mandates because they would "rewrite history and . . . displace the enduring legacy of the American Revolution with a new left-wing cultural revolution." (p. 2) The administration further objects to arbitrary base-renaming provisions that "would not stop at the limits written into [House] section 2829. [This] is part of a sustained effort to erase from the history of the Nation whose who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct."

The Statement adds, "[L]oud voices in America are also demanding the destruction or renaming of monuments and memorials to former Presidents, including our first President, George Washington; the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson; and the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln."

An unending process of renaming or removing items of historic interest already has begun, and in many cases spun out of control.

On the Senate side, legislation reportedly written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (S. 4049, Section 377) would direct the Secretary of Defense to "remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments [excepting grave markers], and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America . . . or any person who served voluntarily with the [Confederacy] from all assets of the Department of Defense."

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) expressed support for a "study" to gather facts for Congress' consideration, but the legislation does not require an objective study, followed by official approval of Commission recommendations. Other than one-way briefings before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, there is no provision for congressional or presidential approval.

The Senate bill also would establish a Commission "relating to assigning, modifying, or removing of names, symbols, displays, monuments, etc." The Commission would have eight members - none of them directly appointed by the President. (The Defense Secretary would have four and Committee Chairs and Ranking members would have one appointment each.)

Commission members would brief the HASC and SASC on "criteria" used to rename bases, but the legislation does not state what the commission's objectives and priorities should be. With blank check authority, members could do whatever they want.

CMR has analyzed the legislative options and suggested ways to resolve contentious issues:

CMR also has analyzed provisions in the House bill that would needlessly expand unnecessary Diversity & Inclusion mandates affecting the Department of Defense and all branches of the military service. These open-ended mandates justify a presidential veto even more.

CMR hopes that a stand for principle will help in resolving the NDAA impasse over military bases with a thoughtful plan that provides for a real study of the issue and promotes reconciliation and respect for history.

At the same time, the administration should veto, eliminate, or discontinue ill-advised diversity mandates that would advance critical race theory. This includes provisions in the House NDAA and the Defense Department's planned "Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity & Inclusion," which would turn the culture of the military upside-down.

D. Congress Resists Pressures to Repeal 2018 DoD Transgender Policy reported in June that some members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee were sponsoring legislation to repeal the 2018 DoD policy regarding transgenders and persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

CMR responded by confronting head-on misleading arguments for repeal of the 2018 policy. The first was a faux "study" claiming that most military personnel favored repeal of the transgender policy.

CMR also issued a July 1 News Release conveying a new CMR Policy Analysis

and a featured article containing a detailed analysis of reasons why Congress had every right to resist pressures for repeal:

As this article explains, the Bostock decision does not apply to the military, and contrary to claims of repeal advocates, current policy is based on a medical condition, gender dysphoria, not transgender status:

The DoD report underlying the 2018 policy presented detailed information about consequences of the previous administration's policies, including high costs and lost time related to treatments for gender dysphoria, plus higher rates of psychological problems such as suicide.

Absent congressional action, the 2018 DoD Policy regarding transgenders has a good chance of being upheld as constitutional if or when litigation winding its way through the courts reaches the Supreme Court.

Voters ultimately will decide what happens to our military on Election Day, November 3, 2020. In coming weeks, CMR will compare the platforms and records of the presidential candidates.

E. Student Wins Praise, Award for Project Telling Kara Hultgreen Story

CMR is pleased to report good news about a 13 year-old high school student who did an outstanding job telling the tragic story of the late Lt. Kara Hultgreen - a pioneering F-14 Navy pilot who lost control of her aircraft and died on approach to the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on October 25, 1994.

Kathryn Lucente of the Red Maple Academy in Connecticut first contacted me and other interview subjects back in January, seeking information about circumstances leading up to the tragic death of Lt. Hultgreen.  Kathryn said she was entering a National History Day (NHD) competition, and the theme for all exhibits by high school competitors was "Breaking Barriers."

With discernment beyond her years, Kathryn recognized how Navy officials broke barriers of caution, tradition, and safety to ensure that Lt. Hultgreen was declared "qualified" to fly the F-14 before she was ready.

In local, state, and national NHD competitions, Kathryn received high praise for telling the story with diligent study, research, and solid writing skills to explain naval aviation terms and practices to civilian readers. She also quoted from the CBS 60 Minutes segment in which the late Mike Wallace interviewed CMR source Lt. Jerry Burns, USN, and others involved in the Hultgreen story.

Kathryn's exhibit, titled "Breaking the Wrong Barriers," finished in First Place in her local competition, and Second Place in the Connecticut state level.  She also received the $1,000 Ken Coskey Naval History Prize for 2020, which is prestigious in its own right.

Breaking the Wrong Barriers - The Kara Hultgreen Story

The 3-sided exhibit and text on each panel presents information that was first published in a comprehensive CMR Special Report titled Double Standards in Naval Aviation. The 25-page report included training records showing a pattern of errors that would have caused a male pilot to wash out or require more training in the F-14.  Instead of allowing more time, Navy officials embarrassed by the 1991 Tailhook Scandal rushed Lt. Hultgreen to the fleet.

Congratulations to Kathryn Lucente, a skilled researcher and talented writer whose future is very bright.

F. Articles of Interest    


Posted on Aug 20, 2020 Print this Article