True to form in his administration, President Biden has made yet another identity pick in nominating his choice for the next CNO. This nomination, along with that of Gen. Brown to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, further exacerbates the erosion of our military reputation in both our allies and our adversaries. To promote the factors of gender and race at the expense of warfighting focus in our leadership selections is at once both idiotic and dangerous to our national interests. These nominations seriously undermine the critical concept of merit in our armed forces and will continue to damage the morale of most of our serving members who joined the military with the promise of a meritocracy- based promotion system.
This decision to override SECDEF Austin’s recommendation to appoint the extraordinary, combat tested warrior ADM Samuel Paparo for that critical CNO position once again signals that it is not the best qualified who will advance to top leadership. It continues the pattern of this President to put identity politics above all else.
The U.S. faces dangerous adversaries all around the world. We are already actively supporting combat in Europe and are preparing for conflict over Taiwan. Both the GAO and Heritage Foundation have documented the serious erosion of our nation’s military capabilities and readiness. The CNO is charged with leading the Navy to provide the Combatant Commanders with high quality ships, aircraft, weapons, and manpower to fight and win the nation’s wars around the world. Without the very best assets and people, our ability to fight and win our nation’s wars is at risk.
The authors’ view is that ADM Paparo is the best qualified to lead our Navy forward. A simple comparison of key factors from each of these officers is in order:
It is not the intent to criticize ADM Franchetti. Without question she is a fine officer, a Patriot, a dedicated naval officer who has led well and sacrificed much in service to our country. She deserves our praise, respect, and thanks. Both her promotion to ADM and appointment to the VCNO position less than a year ago are testimony to her lifelong commitment to the United States Navy and our nation. However, her record does not merit her rise to the position of CNO.
Political motivations should not enter the final decision process to select the next leader of the U.S. Navy, when we are facing our most difficult global challenge in recent memory. Regrettably, our President is ignoring the dangers this action will present to the readiness and quality of our Navy and the added risk to our nation of a Navy that is not fully ready to fight and win our wars.
This is not only our opinion. We have consulted with dozens of senior naval officers, both active and retired. Virtually all agree that ADM Paparo is a much stronger choice for CNO.
It is now up to the Senate to decide. We urge all readers to contact your Senators in every state and urge them to vote against the confirmation of ADM Franchetti for Chief of Naval Operations. Lives depend on it. The fate of our very nation could ride on the decision too as war may be just over the horizon. Our enemies are emboldened by every step we take that shows weakness of mind or judgment. Ask yourselves…. who do you want to be the leader of the United States Navy when we are fighting a war with the People’s Republic of China or Russia, Sam Paparo or Lisa Franchetti?
For more background on the importance and history of the office of CNO see Who Will be the next Chief of Naval Operations?
CAPT Brent Ramsey, U.S. Navy Ret., has written extensively on Defense matters. His articles have appeared in the Washington Examiner, Real Clear Defense, American Thinker, Armed Forces Press, Patriot Post and STARRS. During the period 2016-2020 he served as a volunteer for Congressman Mark Meadows advising on matters related to the military. He currently serves in the same capacity as Congressman Chuck Edwards (NC-11). He is on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Military Readiness and is a leader with the Calvert Group.
CAPT Charles T. Burbage, U.S. Navy Ret., is a Naval Academy graduate and Navy Test Pilot School graduate. He has more than 3,000 hours in 38 types of military aircraft. In his aviation industry career, he was the Executive Vice President for the F-22 and later the F-35 programs. He serves as the President of the Calvert Group, a group of USNA alums and others whose mission is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the United States Naval Academy.
LCDR Bruce Davey. U.S. Navy Ret., is a United States Naval Academy graduate and former demonstration pilot and narrator for the world-famous Blue Angels. After leaving the Navy he flew for several decades for United as a senior Captain until they made him retire. He is the founder and owner of the Aviation Efficiency Group. He has written on the negative effects of the Navy’s embrace of politics. He has served on the Board of Directors for STARRS and is a founder and leader with the Calvert Group.