GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain took Navy officials to task Wednesday for their original decision to upend the job system to make it gender neutral, saying the move was nothing more than “pointless tinkering.”
McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, applauded Navy Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, for restoring the original job title system, but added the original decision “defied basic common sense.”
McCain hinted at other mistaken Navy decisions that follow the same pattern.
“Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident of pointless policy tinkering,” McCain said. “A number of other recent policy changes also appear to have been made with shallow analysis and unnecessary urgency.”
In a somewhat unexpected move, Richardson announced Tuesday evening that the Navy would revert back to its old job title system after news leaked out on social media of the impending switch.
Now, sailors will be able to use traditional titles as part of a system that has set the Navy apart from the other services. Instead of being a generic Petty Officer First Class, sailors can go back to referring to themselves as Electrician’s Mate First Class or Culinary Specialist First Class.
The Navy’s new job title system, pioneered by an official who retired before the announcement was even delivered, attracted considerable heat immediately because of the perception that officials were dumping tradition just to make women feel more included.
As Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus put it in October, the point of the new system was to “quit segregating” women.
That tradition was being upended for political correctness, enraging many sailors. Dave Weeks, a Navy veteran, launched a petition urging the White House to intervene, which garnered 100,000 signatures. Although the White House officially backed the Navy’s decision, Navy officials have now changed course.
“I have been adamant that our Navy needs to be a fast-learning organization—that includes our leadership,” the Navy’s statement on Wednesday said. “The removal of rating titles detracted from accomplishing our major goals.”
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