Michael Martin Gilday was born on October 10, 1962, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is the son of a United States Navy sailor.
Gilday is a U.S. Navy officer who has been serving as America’s 32nd Chief of Naval Operations since August 22, 2019. He has commanded two destroyers, served as Director of the Joint Staff, commanded the Tenth Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, and led Carrier Strike Group 8. A surface warfare officer, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and holds master’s degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and the National War College.
Gilday’s staff assignments have included the Bureau of Naval Personnel, staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and staff of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. His joint assignments have included executive assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and naval aide to the President. As a flag officer, Gilday has served in joint positions such as director of operations for NATO’s Joint Force Command Lisbon; chief of staff for Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO; director of operations, J3, for U.S. Cyber Command; and director of operations, J3, for the Joint Staff. He also served as director of the Joint Staff.
Over the years, Gilday has served on teams that have received various awards, and he personally received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal (four awards), the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Bronze Star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” and the Combat Action Ribbon.
But not long after becoming the 32nd Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on August 22, 2019, Admiral Gilday began transforming the U.S. Navy into “a leftist indoctrination machine,” in the words of conservative political analyst Daniel Greenfield, who wrote: “Gilday began pushing racial campaigns before [Joe] Biden occupied the White House. In the summer of 2020, Gilday began mandating [what he termed] ‘conversations’ about race, which insisted that the Navy was racist.”
The most prominent of those conversations was Gilday’s June 25, 2020 video to his fellow sailors, titled “One Team, One Navy.” As Black Lives Matter and Antifa radicals were creating violent mayhem and burning down American cities following the infamous May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Gilday took it upon himself to guide his fellow sailors through a race-focused guilt trip. In the video, black Navy personnel complain about what they describe as America’s inherent and systemic racism, while white Navy personnel denounce their own white privilege.
“Now I’m encouraging every Navy leader, uniformed and civilian, active and reserve, to start a dialogue at each of your commands,” Gilday says in the introductory segment of the video. “As a Navy, we must seize this opportunity to engage in conversations about race relations and inclusion within our force. Now is the time to have open and honest conversations across our Navy. Each of us should be thinking about how we can contribute in a positive way and what we can do to better our Navy. It starts with each of us.”
Also in the video, Black Lives Matter is endorsed and the police are denounced for the March 13, 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, a young black woman who was killed by officers after her boyfriend fired his gun on police who had entered Taylor’s apartment in a drug raid. Sailors are urged to hate the “white supremacist” country they live in, and by implication, their service to it.
A black male sailor says in the video that he was both angered and saddened by the death of George Floyd. “I’m 44 years old. The first time I experienced racism [was] when I was 10 years old and to be honest, I still experience it to this day.”
A black female sailor, meanwhile, declares that “being African American in America is not fun.” She adds, “It’s every day looking over your shoulder, every day trying to minimize your personality, or minimize what people think is a norm.… I’m a human being. I have rights, and I served my country so that the people that look like me and everyone else has the right to be just who they are, without judgment and with freedom.”
Conversely, a white female sailor confesses her racial sins:
“I’ve certainly become very aware of my own privilege as a white person and I affirm my commitment to my peers and my community, to continue to listen as the CNO [i.e. Gilday] said, and to educate myself and to really learn about how this country has a history of systemic racism, and how that has affected us all the way through to this day. And I believe that only through really learning and educating ourselves and seeking to understand the experiences of marginalized people, that’s the only way that we’ll be able to move forward as a country and try to create a community that’s more equitable, fair, and just for everyone who lives in it.”
Gilday ends the video by warning sailors that if they failed to embrace the belief that systemic white racism is an enormous problem in America at large and in the Navy specifically, they should be prepared to leave the that branch of the Armed Services: “To be clear, as sailors and as a Navy, we cannot tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind. We must work to identify and eliminate individual and systemic racism within our force. We are beginning that work now, examining our policies ranging from recruiting and assignments, advancements and promotions, to our military justice system and other policies. That is why we are standing up a task force designed to identify and remove racial barriers and improve inclusion within our Navy. We must demand of each other that we treat everyone with dignity and respect. If you won’t do that, then our Navy is not the best place for you. We are one team and we are one Navy.”
In early 2021, Gilday touted the conclusions of a The 141-page report titled Task Force One Navy (TF1N), which was founded on the premise that “by embracing
Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) in our day-to-day work and decisions at a fundamental level, we harness the creative power of our differences, putting forward actions and strategies that accelerate and enable our Navy’s warfighting advantage.” A model of double-talk, virtue-signaling, and psychobabble, this report includes the pledge taken by all TF1N participants:
“As a key member of Task Force One Navy I will invest the time, attention and empathy required to analyze and evaluate Navywide issues related to racism, sexism, ableism and other structural and interpersonal biases. I pledge to be actively inclusive in the public and private spheres where I live and work, and proactively encourage others to do the same. I pledge to advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy. I pledge to engage in ongoing self-reflection, education and knowledge sharing to better myself and my communities. I pledge to be an example in establishing healthy, inclusive and team-oriented environments. I pledge to constructively share all experiences and information gained from activities above to inform the development of Navywide reforms.”
The report by the TF1N task force, said the Navy said in a press release, “includes analysis and a comprehensive set of nearly 60 recommendations meant to enhance the Navy’s overall diversity and ensure that a culture of inclusivity is evident at every command.”
Over the preceding six months, the task force had: (a) heard from active and reserve sailors, as well as Navy civilians stationed around the world; (b) carried out 285 interviews and focus group sessions throughout the fleet and accepted comments and suggestions from 898 officers and enlisted sailors of various demographic groups and ranks; (c) examined six Navy instructions and nine command-specific instructions to identify language that could be thought of as offensive or biased, or that may have “hampered inclusion”; and (d) “set out to analyze and evaluate issues in our society and military that detract from Navy readiness, such as racism, sexism and other structural and interpersonal biases to attain significant, sustainable I&D-related reform,” the report stated.
Today’s U.S. Navy must to bend over backwards to accommodate every segment of society, the report emphasized: “Our nation of over 330 million individuals is made up of a multitude of races, ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations and more. And we value them all. Why? Because that’s what right looks like, and that’s what we teach our young people.”
To promote the completed TF1N report, Gilday repeated some of what he had said in the August 2019 video several months before:
“As a Navy – uniform and civilian, active and reserve – we cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind, and must engage in open and honest conversations with each other and take action. That is why we stood up ‘Task Force One Navy’ – to identify and remove racial barriers, improve inclusion efforts, create new opportunities for professional development, and eliminate obstacles to enter the Navy.
“We have fallen short in the past by excluding or limiting opportunity for people on the basis of race, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender or creed. Our Navy must continue to remove barriers to service, and most importantly, be a shining example of a workforce centered on respect, inclusive of all. Simply put, all Sailors – uniformed and civilian — and applicants for accession to the Navy must be treated with dignity and respect above all else.
“While there is still work to be done, I am confident that this report’s recommendations will help make our Navy better, and we will move forward together towards meaningful, long-lasting change. Make no mistake, I am personally committed to this effort.”
Daniel Greenfield writes that in the report: (a) Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey, “one of the few black admirals” who headed TF1N, “swapped out traditional naval tradition for fighting “racism, sexism, ableism and other structural and interpersonal biases”; (b) Task Force members promised to advocate for “all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every sailor”; and (c) Officers were informed it was their job to “advocate for change.”
The new “One Navy” was “a college campus whose focus wasn’t fending off China, but recruiting activists for leftist causes,” Greenfield observes. Its guidelines leaned heavily on “white privilege” materials, cautioning officers to “actively listen and do not be defensive.”
Greenfield adds: “In other words, if you criticize the racist propaganda we offer that in itself proves you’re a racist. The report also proposed fighting ‘systemic racism’ by removing ‘problematic’ language. It dismantled uniform and grooming standards. Even the term ‘good taste’ was banned. But there were more ominous proposals like including bias awareness training or so-called ‘implicit bias’ … which would force Navy leadership into critical race theory sessions.”
The recommendations in the report included the following, summarized as follows in a Navy press release:
Around the time that the TF1N report was made public, Gilday introduced new reading materials for those in the Navy as part of the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program (CNO-PRP) reading list, whose motto is “Read Well to Lead Well.” According to Gilday, the program had its beginnings about two centuries earlier. “Nearly 200 years ago,” wrote Gilday in his introduction to the reading list, “the Navy ordered its ships be outfitted with a reading list of 37 books in order to help train and educate Sailors The Navy’s leaders knew then what is still the case today: to outthink our competitors we must study and apply lessons we’ve learned from our past. Furthermore, it is critically important for our Navy to be a learning organization. And one of the very best ways to do that is to foster an environment where every Sailor deepens their level of understanding and learning.”
One of the newly added books was How To Be An Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi., a proponent of critical race theory, an academic discipline which contends that America is permanently racist to its core, and that consequently the nation’s legal structures are, by definition, racist and invalid. The book argues, among other things, that capitalism and racism are inextricably linked together in an evil, destructive embrace, stating that: (a) “capitalism is essentially racist,” “racism is essentially capitalist,” and therefore “capitalism should be destroyed.”
In its presentation of Kendi’s book, the CNO-PRP website quoted the following glowing endorsement from the publisher’s own website: “In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.”
During a congressional hearing in June 2021, Gilday defended his decision to add Kendi’s book to the CNO-PRP reading list. At one point in the hearing, Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana, a reservist in the Navy, asked Gilday if he agreed with things Kendi had said in the past and things that were contained in his book, such as Kendi’s claim that capitalism is racist, and his assertion that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was a “white colonizer” because she had adopted two children from Haiti. Gilday refused to give a straight answer, replying: “Here’s what I know, Congressman. There’s racism in the United States Navy.”
“It’s a yes or no question, Admiral,” Banks said in response. “Admiral, you recommended that every sailor in the United States Navy read this book.”
Gilday retorted, “I’m not forcing anybody to read the book. It’s on a recommended reading list.”
Gilday was then asked if he agreed with Kendi’s claims that white people are a different breed of humans and are responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus. Gilday avoided the question: “Sir, I’d have to understand the context in which the statements were made. I’m not going to sit here and defend cherry-picked quotes from somebody’s book. This is a bigger issue than somebody’s book. What this is really about is trying to paint the United States military, and in this case, the United States Navy as weak, as woke…. We are not weak.”
Banks also asked Gilday if he believed that if sailors embraced Kendi’s views that the U.S. armed forces are at core racist, would hurt morale, cohesion, and recruiting. Gilday again ducked the question, replying with platitudes: “I do know this. Our strength is in our diversity, and our sailors understand that. Racism in the United States is a very complex issue. What we benefit from is an open discussion about those issues. That we don’t try to ignore it or rewrite it, but we actually have a discussion about it and there will be different views.”
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that same month (June 2021), Gilday refused to say if capitalism was racist, a claim Kendi has often made. Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas asked Gilday: “You’re saying as a senior leader of the Navy that you want 18-year-old sailors and 22-year-old ensigns to read a book that asserts that capitalism is essentially racist. Do you agree that capitalism is essentially racist?” Gilday deflected: “Sir, with all due respect, I’m not going to engage without understanding the context of statements like that.” Cotton pressed on, saying: “In what context could the claim that capitalism is essentially racist possibly be something with which you agree?” Gilday replied: “Sir I’d have to go back to the book to take a look at that…. I believe we can trust them to read books like that and draw reasonable conclusions.”
Cotton also asked Gilday about other claims advanced in Kendi’s book, such as the notion that past discrimination may only be remedied by present discrimination, present discrimination can only be remedied by future discrimination, and skin color determines whether a person is an oppressor or oppressed. Gilday stood by his decision to put Kendi’s book on the list, saying it was his hope that sailors would read about domestic threats and think critically amidst an ocean of misinformation.
Another book on the CNO-PRP reading list is We Can’t Talk About That At Work! How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics, by leftist thinker Mary-Frances Winters. On the website for her consultancy, The Winters Group, Winters is identified as “Mary-Frances Winters, President, CEO, Pronouns: She/Her/Hers[.]” Winters is also identified as the author of other books, including: Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit; Inclusive Conversations: Fostering Equity, Empathy, and Belonging Across Differences; Inclusion Starts With “I”; and CEOs Who Get It: Diversity Leadership from the Heart and Soul.
Another book on the CNO-PRP reading list is Sexual Minorities and Politics, by Jason Pierceson, a political science professor at University of Illinois – Springfield. In its presentation of this book, the CNO-PRP website quotes the following remarks from the publisher: “The political representation and involvement of sexual minorities in the United States has been highly contested and fiercely debated. As recent legislative and judicial victories create inroads towards equality for this growing population, members and advocates of these minorities navigate evolving political and legal systems while continuing to fight against societal and institutional resistance. Sexual Minorities and Politics is the first textbook to provide students with an up-to-date, thorough, and comprehensive overview of the historical, political, and legal status of sexual and gender minorities.”
The CNO-PRP reading list also recommends an anti-incarceration movement tract, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander, a New York Times opinion columnist. The CNO-PRP website quotes the following book description from the publisher: “Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander’s unforgettable argument that ‘we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.’ As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is ‘undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S.’”
When several Republican members of Congress, most of them veterans, sent Gilday a letter objecting to the inclusion of the aforementioned books on the military’s recommended reading list, Gilday told them that those books would help Navy leadership “to identify and remove racial barriers, improve inclusion efforts, create new opportunities for professional development, and eliminate obstacles to enter the Navy.” “While I do not endorse every viewpoint of the books on this reading list,” Gilday expanded, “I believe exposure to varied ideas improves the critical thinking skills of our sailors. My commitment to them is to continue to listen, make sure their voice is heard, and make the Navy a shining example of an organization centered on respect, inclusive of all.”
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By Daniel Greenfield
June 21, 2021
Navy Chief of Operations Dodges Tom Cotton Question on If Capitalism Is Racist
By Kristina Wong
June 22, 2021
Petition to Remove Admiral Michael Gilday as Chief of Naval Operations
June 22, 2021