Pentagon Paying The Price For Going ‘Woke’

The Pentagon is paying the price for going “woke,” as only the Marine Corps and the newly created Space Force met their recruiting goals in 2022, while the three largest branches fell short or marginally achieved their reconfigured goals.

Recruits read their Recruit Training Guide for Basic Military Training in a compartment of the USS Hopper at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Stephane Belcher)

The directive came from the top: A memo from the U.S. secretary of defense ordering Pentagon leaders and the commanders of the six military branches to review and recommend changes to “policies, programs, and processes that may negatively affect equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion for all our people.”

A month later, the secretary issued a second memo, titled ‘Immediate Actions to Address Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Military Services,’ outlining a “three-pronged approach” for implementing those recommendations.

The secretary called for reviews to ensure diversity in promotions, prohibition of pregnancy-based discrimination, bias awareness, “bystander intervention in response to improper remarks or other communications made by peers or superiors,” and a Workplace and Equal Opportunity survey to “include metrics concerning harassment and discrimination, extremist groups and activities.”

The secretary was Mark Esper. The president was Donald Trump. It was the pandemic summer of 2020 and there was violence on the streets in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

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As Esper—who Trump would later fire via a November 2020 tweet—was installing expanded focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training in the armed forces during the summer of 2020, the Democrat-controlled House and split Senate were deliberating the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (FY21 NDAA), the annual defense budget.

Congress incorporated Esper’s initiatives into the spending plan, adding a requirement for the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a “chief diversity officer” and “senior advisors for diversity and inclusion” within each branch to advise on “training in diversity dynamics and … leading diverse groups effectively.” The NDAA also called for renaming military bases bearing the names of Confederate generals.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, was objecting to DEI-related training being imposed on all federal employees, not just uniformed military. A September 2020 directive from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) required agencies to identify any training on topics such as “critical race theory” or “white privilege.”

Trump issued an executive order during that same month prohibiting federal funding for training on “divisive concepts,” with specific reference to prohibiting teaching, instructing, or training on these concepts within the uniformed services. Ensuing OPM guidance required that it approve all such training programs “before being used.”

Nevertheless, Congress adopted the FY21 NDAA, encoding the enhanced DEI training into statute. Before leaving office as president, Trump vetoed the defense budget, citing a host of objections, including the removal of Confederate generals’ names from military bases.

In their final act of 2020, the House and Senate overrode Trump’s veto in supermajority votes and adopted the defense budget. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021—three months after the fiscal year began and three weeks before President Joe Biden would enter the Oval Office.

On Jan. 20, 2021, the day he was inaugurated, Biden issued an executive order revoking Trump’s September 2020 directive and lifting its restrictions on DEI-related training in the military.

According to a CNBC analysis of data from Higher Ed Dive, woke colleges are shutting down in the US. Since 2016, 91 private colleges in the US have closed.

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