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Op-ed: Start With The Military Culture

November 02, 2016

All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting an op-ed please email [email protected]


I have had many former military colleagues tell me that the culture of the United States armed forces has been radically changed by the Obama administration’s time in office. The change has not been good. We now have a military culture that values process and political correctness over warfighting skills and the warrior ethos. Equipment and technology can win wars but nothing will lose a war faster than an officer corp that does not embody the ability to lead men into battle and to win at any cost, no matter the hardship. I believe we may now be missing this key ingredient to victory.

Many of the warriors in senior command positions have been put out to pasture by a White House and Department of Defense that would rather use the military to pursue a social experimentation agenda than train to defeat an enemy who is determined to kill you. This change could have existential consequences for the United States. The executive branch has been more concerned about gender integration, transgender issues, social justice, white privilege, and the general wussification of the United States military rather than fighting and winning wars.

The next president of the United States— hopefully that will be Donald Trump— will have an enormous task to root out the rot that has infected our armed forces. Hillary Clinton will just pursue more of the same, as she mocks and derides the uniformed personnel beneath her. What difference does it make is not a credo a warrior put in harm’s way wants to hear from the commander in chief. He wants to hear that the president values his life and limb and would only put them in danger if the nation required it. He wants to hear that the CINC would do everything to make sure the soldier in the field has the utmost support from its civilian leadership and has their back, not some globalist, politically correct agenda.

When I entered my last unit, which was a tier one counterterror outfit, flying sophisticated aircraft, my new commander made it very clear to me as a young captain, that he did not value paper pushing at all. He valued being able to go to war at a moment’s notice. This mentality is what we again have to instill in our junior officers rather than teaching them to ‘function’ administratively in a politically correct military gone mad. We need to make warriors again, and I’m not talking about social justice.

For as Patton famously said, “If you can’t get them to salute how you want them to salute, and wear the clothes you want them to wear, how are you going to get them to die for their country?” We face some very serious threats around the world in China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, the Islamic State, etc. We need a military that is up to the challenge, that can honor and keep the faith with the American warriors of the past who gave it their all. We have not a moment to lose to change the direction of our armed forces. God speed to the next commander in chief.

L. Todd Wood, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a contributor to The Washington Times, Fox Business, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge and others, and he is a foreign correspondent for Newsmax TV. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit