Biden Overrides Defense Secretary Recommendation for Navy Chief of Operations, Appoints Woman To Achieve “A First”
Biden passes over Pacific Fleet Commander, a white man but with current expertise confronting the China threat, to lead the U.S. Navy, in favor of a woman currently serving in the Pentagon
In a stunning, but perhaps predictable move, Joe Biden has nominated Admiral Lisa Franchetti, currently the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, to the position of Chief of Naval Operations, overriding Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s recommendation that Admiral Samuel Paparo, currently Commander of the Pacific Fleet, get the job.
From Fox News: Biden overrules Pentagon, nominates first woman to head Navy
President Biden has overruled the Pentagon and chosen Adm. Lisa Franchetti to lead the Navy, making her the first woman, if she’s confirmed, to be a Pentagon service chief and the first female member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Biden’s decision goes against the recommendation of his Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who recommended the president select Adm. Samuel Paparo, the current commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, according to multiple reports.
Did you catch that? Biden gets a two-fer: He gets to say he is the first President to nominate a woman to lead any service, in this case the Navy, and he gets to claim that he is the first President to nominate a female member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And before I go any further I would like to make two points:
First, I have nothing against any women in the United States Navy. I served with many incredible women during my long 31 years in the Navy. In fact, during my last job, when I was Commanding Officer of the Navy ROTC Unit at Cornell University, one of my midshipmen became one of the first three women to ever serve on submarines, and she was fantastic and just as capable as any male submariner. Oh, and I happen to be married to a retired female Navy Captain, so there’s that.
Second, I throw no stones at Admiral Franchetti. By all accounts she is an extremely competent naval officer, with a very impressive resume. Some of the things I find especially important in her background are her stint as Captain of USS Ross (DDG-71), a front-line, Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, and her flag (admiral) assignments as Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, two aircraft carrier strike group commands, and Commander of the Navy’s Sixth Fleet, based in Italy, and charged with the defense of U.S. interests in the Mediterranean, Africa, and the North Atlantic, among other things.
Here, from Fox News, is what I find disturbing:
In a statement on Friday, Biden noted how Franchetti is an unprecedented choice for such a high-level military post due to her sex, adding that she’s the second woman ever to achieve the rank of four-star admiral in the Navy. (emphasis mine)
“As our next chief of naval operations, Admiral Lisa Franchetti will bring 38 years of dedicated service to our nation as a commissioned officer, including in her current role of vice chief of naval operations,” Biden continued. “Throughout her career, Admiral Franchetti has demonstrated extensive expertise in both the operational and policy arenas.”
Additionally disturbing, Biden has intentionally disregarded Secretary Austin’s recommendation of Paparo, who as mentioned is the current Navy Pacific Fleet Commander.
From Politico, when the Paparo recommendation was made last month:
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has recommended Adm. Samuel Paparo as the Navy’s next chief of naval operations, two administration officials said, tapping an operational leader focused on the Indo-Pacific and passing over Adm. Lisa Franchetti, widely regarded as the frontrunner for the job.
* * *
If nominated and confirmed, Paparo would replace Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, whose four-year term ends this fall. Paparo currently commands the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, where he has focused on confronting China’s growing naval power, a perch that’s given him a front-row seat to Washington’s most pressing problem.
“He’s been doing a lot of innovative thinking” with new concepts for how to employ U.S. naval power in the Pacific, and has instituted a series of experiments and exercises aimed at testing new ideas, said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and retired Navy officer.
“He’s been much more creative than other commanders” who have led the Pacific fleet in recent years, Clark said, adding that Paparo’s potential nomination “reflects the desire to get serious” about the growing naval imbalance in the Pacific and how the U.S. can address it. (emphasis mine)
The problem with Paparo is that he is a fifty-something old white guy, which doesn’t fit the Biden identity politics mandate. Why have someone lead the Navy with “a front-row seat to Washington’s most pressing problem,” i.e. China, and who has “been much more creative than other commanders” in leading the Pacific Fleet, when you can take credit for putting a woman first, even if her most recent experience is pushing a desk in the Pentagon?
And, ironically, the big loser here is Admiral Franchetti. As U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas said in his excellent, stinging concurrence in the Court’s recent affirmative action opinion, the people who benefit from affirmative action, or here, gender preference, are the biggest victims of the policy:
“These policies may harm even those who succeed…I have long believed that large racial preferences in college admissions stamp blacks and Hispanics with a badge of inferiority. They thus taint the accomplishments of all those who are admitted as a result of racial discrimination as well as [others who are not] because no one can distinguish those students from the ones whose race played a role in their admission. Consequently, when blacks and, now, Hispanics take positions in the highest places of government, industry, or academia, it is an open question whether their skin color played a part in their advancement. The question itself is the stigma—because either racial discrimination did play a role, in which case the person may be deemed “otherwise unqualified,” or it did not, in which case asking the question itself unfairly marks those who would succeed without discrimination.” Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard, 143 S. Ct. 2141, 2198 (2023) (Thomas, J., concurring) (citations omitted).
Here it is even worse, because we know Biden nominated Franchetti because of her sex, whatever her background, against SecDef’s recommendation.
Jay Nordlinger makes a good point:
I think several readers will understand me (dozens?): It would have been far better for Biden to have simply announced the appointment of Admiral Franchetti, without the "make history as the first woman" stuff. Far classier — more arresting, even. https://t.co/LR3BYPf4wa
— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) July 22, 2023
Biden may think he is doing the “progressive,” politically correct thing, but for once Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had it right: Better to have someone in charge with recent, first-hand experience against our biggest threat, than not. Even if that means having another old white guy in charge of the U.S. Navy.DONATE
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