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Posted on Jan 7, 2023 Print this Article

CMR Challenge for 2023: Woke-ism in Our Military

In January 2022, the Center for Military Readiness challenged Congress to oppose, change, or repeal “woke” policies in the military that are weakening morale and readiness, and to support sound priorities that would make our military stronger: 

Woke policies impose progressive ideologies and take them to extremes with enforced compliance, even if they hurt the institution.  We were pleased that Congress acted on most of the issues on our list, plus these concerns, which emerged in the past year:

  • Parental Rights in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools
  • The Sexualization of the Military
  • Compromised Standards to Meet Progressive/Woke Social Goals

In spite of congressional efforts, the Administration took actions that worsened some policies and practices.  The following summary analyzes what happened in 2022 and spotlights ten major challenges that the new 118th Congress should address:

1Draft Our Daughters:  

CMR issued updated analyses and messages explaining why legislation that would have required registration of young women for possible future conscription, while redefining Selective Service in a step toward government-directed national service, should be dropped from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023.

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) had approved the legislation, but unlike 2021, the House Armed Service Committee (HASC) did not.  After months of pressure and updated information from CMR, top negotiators proposed a consolidated NDAA for final approval that eliminated the offensive Draft Our Daughters provision.

2.  Non-discrimination and Meritocracy, not “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)

During the process of writing the NDAA for 2023, several House members offered amendments that would have prohibited federal funds to expand Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) programs and a small army of Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) empowered to evaluate promotions.  These ubiquitous Pentagon offices – what could be called a Diversity Industrial Complex – are run by doctrinaire officials and “experts” who direct and enforce extreme woke policies that weaken paramount principles of merit and non-discrimination. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) wrote an op-ed highlighting several issues listed on the CMR Challenge for 2022, plus related concerns that have worsened under the current administration:   

Excerpt: When Republicans take control of Congress next year, we must return the military’s focus to its core mission.  We should start by firing every last Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer on the Department of Defense’s payroll.  All unnecessary and onerous administrative training, especially so-called "extremism" trainings, should be eliminated.”

On another front, CMR worked with the Veterans for Fairness & Merit (VFM), which filed an amicus brief in a case before the Supreme Court on behalf of more than 600 retired military officers, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients.   This brief, which opposes racial discrimination in college admissions, is the only statement before the Court that refutes Defense Department arguments for discriminatory policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.  Last October, the Department of Justice Solicitor General presented to the Court unsupported claims that combat effectiveness and national security depend on percentage-based racial “diversity” in higher education.

3.  Ending Military Critical Race Theory (CRT) and “Anti-Extremism” Indoctrination

The Senate Armed Services Committee narrowly defeated legislation that would have expressed the Sense of Congress that mandatory, time-wasting “anti-extremist” programs focusing on minuscule numbers of “extremism” cases in the military (on the right side of the political spectrum but not the left) should not be a top priority of the Department of Defense.  House legislation that would have eliminated divisive CRT instructions in military schools, which weaken mutual trust and cohesion with racial stereotypes and unresolvable accusations, also fell short but should come up again in the new Congress.

4. Fixing the ACFT Fiasco

The Center for Military Readiness reported and analyzed the Army’s failed three-year experiment with “sex-neutral” standards in its new Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).  When women in combat rules changed in 2015, officials repeatedly promised that the new combat fitness test would train men and women with identical performance standards.  However, as CMR predicted and reported during three years of trials and tweaks of the ACFT, data reconfirmed that men and women are not interchangeable in physically demanding units such as the infantry.

Because women’s rates of injury and failure remained unacceptably high, the Army reneged on its promises of sex-neutrality and returned to sex-normed (different) standards for men and women.  CMR provided to Sen. Tom Cotton and other legislators a detailed chronology of the ACFT fiasco and possible ways to fix the problem, based on far-sighted recommendations of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Services:

Sen. Cotton respectfully grilled Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on the lack of tougher standards for trainees headed for the combat arms, which could “get people killed.”  Then Cotton joined with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) to successfully include in the defense bill language that will push the Army to toughen training for soldiers headed for physically demanding combat arms units such as the infantry.  That process, reportedly, already has begun.

CMR appreciates the lawmakers’ determination to see this through and we are looking forward to important developments on this issue in 2023.  (In his excellent new book, Only the Strong: Reversing the Left’s Plot to Sabotage American Power, Sen. Cotton acknowledged the  wealth of information about this and related issues that CMR provided to his staff.)

5.  The Recruiting Crisis and Compromised Standards

CMR is concerned about a reported Defense Department pilot program that, if fully implemented, would reduce restrictions on the recruitment of individuals with previously disqualifying behavioral conditions, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiance Disorders, and sleep disorders such as Narcolepsy – a dangerous (sudden sleep) condition that the Mayo Clinic describes as having no cure.

We will also ask Congress to question other reported changes in requirements for recruits entering the service, and to independently evaluate the 738-page report produced by the University of Pittsburgh for the Marine Corps, which CMR obtained by means of a FOIA request.  Among other things, the report supports misguided mandates to require mixed-sex basic training in the Marine Corps, calling for an end to the titles “Ma’am” and “Sir,”

6.  Transgender Mandates Taken to Extremes

The Biden Administration’s doctrinaire advocacy of woke politics, including the most extreme elements of the LGBT agenda, began when President Joe Biden signed a stack of Executive Orders on or shortly after Inauguration Day:

During the 2022 NDAA debate, House Republicans offered several unsuccessful amendments regarding transgender “sex reassignment” surgeries and other controversial, often-irreversible medical treatments.  The 118th Congress should continue the pressure by renewing formal requests for information on the costs and consequences of Biden’s transgender policies, updating Obama-era data obtained and published during the Trump Administration:

CMR will work with the new Congress in support of compassionate, competent care for gender dysphoria, and reality-based health care programs that protect the rights of doctors and nurses who are concerned about medical ethics and religious convictions.  We will also press for oversight and action on matters of privacy in women’s living facilities and athletic teams.

7.  Military Parents Rights in DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools

Congress should restore House-passed NDAA legislation to protect military parents’ rights to be informed of objectionable transgender indoctrination and activism in DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) schools.  The final defense bill for 2023 inexplicably gutted the Military Parents Rights amendment that Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) sponsored and successfully inserted in the House bill on a bi-partisan 39-19 vote.  (Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) offered similar language in the SASC but her measure failed on a 13-13 tie vote.)

The version signed into law by President Biden is a Sense of Congress statement, not a binding law mandating rights for parents seeking to be involved in the curriculum, teaching practices, and books used in Department of Defense Education Activity DoDEA schools.  The watered- down language won’t offer much help to military parents coping with DoDEA school administrators implementing policies favored by “anti-racist” activist Kelisa Wing, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion programs in the DoDEA, the largest school system in the world.

Exposing military children to progressive ideology, practices, and woke culture orchestrated by the LGBT Left likely will lead to more indoctrination and “family friendly” drag queen performances on military bases.  (In some civilian schools, woke teachers have encouraged children to pursue “gender transitioning” behind their parents’ backs.)

Over the long term, lack of parents’ rights legislation could make the current recruiting crisis worse, since CRT teachings that disparage America’s history and discourage patriotism could dissuade military children who otherwise might follow their parents’ example in volunteering to serve.

8.  The Sexualization of the Military

Pentagon leaders have alienated their most important base of support: the same traditional families who turned away from Walt Disney, Inc. when the company took sides against parents and decided to inject LGBT characters and culture into films and television programs aimed at children.

The armed forces' enthusiastic promotions of LGBT Pride Month celebrations in June have expanded to nearly year-round sexualized events on military bases worldwide, including hyper-sexual drag queens performing inappropriate shows and story hours for children:

Congress should inform the Pentagon that sexualized entertainment in the military, which alienates traditional families and disrespects women, is unacceptable.  The military institution should be encouraging discipline, not indiscipline, on- and off-base.  Contradictory practices that emphasize human sexuality or try to ignore sexual tensions make no sense, especially when rates of sexual assault keep escalating year after year.

9.  Unreasonable COVID Vaccination Mandates

CMR supports medical policies that promote good health, deployability, and readiness, but opposes unrealistic and unfair COVID vaccination mandates that have excluded potential recruits or forced out thousands of experienced personnel and service academy cadets who have refused vaccination mandates.

A number of organizations worked together to secure NDAA legislation to end military COVID mandates, which several courts already have struck down.  This was a significant accomplishment, but more needs to be done in 2023.  Persons who were discharged due to medically questionable mandates should be reinstated or compensated for their losses.

10.  Restoring Sound Priorities in Today’s Woke Military

The nation has never seen anything like the deliberately harmful woke policies that we are seeing now.  The good news is that members of the new Congress intend to take on woke mandates in the military, and this cannot happen soon enough.

In a shot across the Pentagon’s bow last November, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) issued a 17-page report on the importance of eliminating “woke” policies in the military:

Military readiness and national security depend on sound priorities.  CMR challenges the 118th Congress to put an end to woke ideology and demands that put social ideology first, weakening the only military we have and putting national security at risk.

* * * * * *

The Center for Military Readiness is an independent, non-partisan public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  Tax-deductible contributions to CMR, celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2023, can be made by clicking here.

A 1-page Summary of this article is available here

 

Posted on Jan 7, 2023 Print this Article