The report prepared by Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle and Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, both retired, came in response to recent Naval failures, including the burning of the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego, two accidents involving Navy ships in the Pacific, and the surrender of two small craft to Iran.
The authors carried hour-long interviews with 77 current and retired Navy officers, suggesting anonymity to identify matters they wouldn't feel comfortable talking about in the chain of command.
The report found that a staggering 94 percent of the subjects believed the recent Naval disasters were 'part of a broader problem in Navy culture or leadership.'
'I guarantee you every unit in the Navy is up to speed on their diversity training. I'm sorry that I can't say the same of their ship handling training,' stated one recently retired senior enlisted leader.
The report focused on issues within the Navy's surface warfare forces, as opposed to submarine and aviation, and proposed that matters in the surface fleet could be unique due to better funding and training for submarine and aviation units.
One of the key issues surfaced by the officers interviewed for the report was anxiety that Navy leaders spend more time concentrating on diversity training than on developing warfighting capacity and key operational skills.
'Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we'll survive a fight with the Chinese navy,' lamented one lieutenant currently on active duty.
'It's criminal. They think my only value is as a black woman. But you cut our ship open with a missile and we'll all bleed the same color,' she went on.
One recent destroyer captain stated: 'where someone puts their time shows what their priorities are. And we've got so many messages about X, Y, Z appreciation month, or sexual assault prevention, or you name it. We don't even have close to that same level of emphasis on actual warfighting.'
'While programs to encourage diversity, human sex trafficking prevention, suicide prevention, sexual assault prevention, and others are appropriate, they come with a cost,' the report's authors wrote.
'The non-combat curricula consume Navy resources, clog inboxes, create administrative quagmires, and monopolize precious training time. By weighing down sailors with non-combat related training and administrative burdens, both Congress and Navy leaders risk sending them into battle less prepared and less focused than their opponents,' the report went on.