[March 28, 2021] You just gotta love the U.S. military. Once again, the Navy is considering banning their First Navy Jack patch. “Disappointing” is what one Navy petty officer said to me over coffee. I believe this sentiment is common when Navy personnel see their senior leaders as overly concerned about the patch with the motto Don’t Tread on Me.
With new leadership at the Department of Defense, some military troops are seeing a troubling trend. And, this is not new. The U.S. military has long focused on warfighting. They also give their personnel plenty of freedom, typically restricting political speech when in uniform or not allowing classified information to be openly disseminated.
In 2013, a former SEAL and author, Carl Higbie, wrote that some Navy units had banned the first Navy Jack patch because it was associated with the tea party. The Navy backed down and denied this ban was a consideration.1 Navy personnel typically wear a camouflage version of the first Navy Jack.
A new development is scrutinizing military workforce social media accounts, articles, and statements they made regarding the recent presidential election. For example, those that expressed reservations about possible voting improprieties have been targeted for disciplinary action. Many retired flag officers I’ve spoken to have a real problem with the way our troops are being treated.
The new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, is also a concern because he is not stopping these actions. He seems to encourage it. To me, the biggest problem is DoD’s failure to focus its efforts (as measured in resource allocation and command directives) on warfighting and the emerging threats from China and unconventional warfare.
DoD priorities should not be about transgender issues and other issues that have nothing to do with their primary mission to deter America’s enemies. We will see more wokeism at work in the DoD, and we will all be less safe because of it.
Banning the Don’t Tread on Me patch is symbolic of government misplaced priorities and a societal lack of understanding about the seriousness of maintaining a powerful military. We are about to enter an era of a “woke” military and that is a problem more serious than we can imagine.