WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Personnel, recently held a guest lecture at Hillsdale College outlining concerns over identity politics in the military. He also discussed how the Department of Defense’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy has been built on bad social science and fringe history, which is being exploited by our adversaries.
While U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby recently dismissed wokeness in the military as “ridiculous,” as Congressman Gallagher laid out in his lecture, these concerns are legitimate and have significant consequences on U.S. national security.
Watch highlights of his presentation below:
On examples of wokeness in the military:
Clip 5
“In his first week on the job, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day stand down to confront “extremism,” forcing all commanding officers to spend a day discussing extremism using a PowerPoint presentation prepared by the Joint Staff that included Ted Talks asking “What is up with us white people?”…The U.S. Military Academy at West Point likewise required cadets to attend a seminar on DEI and promoted presentations on “White Power at West Point” and “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage.”…Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, recently included Ibram X Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist on his “Professional Reading Program,” which is supposed to help sailors “outthink our competitors.” Kendi, a “leading historian” according to one Ted Talk included in Secretary Austin’s PowerPoint on extremism, has called Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett a “white colonizer,” argues that capitalism is “essentially racist”, and warns “racism has spread to nearly every part of the body politic…threatening the life of human society with nuclear war and climate change.”
On Milley and Gilday’s logic for regarding woke texts:
Clip 1
“When Chairman Milley compared reading Woke texts to reading Mao and Lenin, he unwittingly gave away the game. We read Mao and Lenin to understand our enemies and their tactics. We do not read Mao’s Talks at Yan’an for ideas of how to better run our military. Yet that is precisely how Milley and Gilday are approaching these Woke texts: as useful tools to help better run the Pentagon because of platitudes such as “diversity is our strength.”
“It should be noted that here Milley and Gilday are not simply pointing out that America’s e pluribus unum melting pot is an asset for the U.S. military recruitment and that we should be proud that we live in a diverse nation with a diverse military…They are instead asking us to embrace a brand of identity politics that is fashionable on the Left right now, one which judges people explicitly by the color of their skin rather than on their merits as individuals.”
On the shoddy social science behind the DEI initiatives:
Gallagher on the shoddy social science behind the DEI initiatives:
“Consider the recent comments of the chief of Navy personnel, Vice Admiral John Nowell, Jr., who suggested we need to reinstate photos for selection boards so skin color can factor into promotion. Nowell also asserted “we know that diverse teams that are led inclusively will perform better.” This claim appears to come from a “Task Force One Navy (TF1N)” report commissioned after the death of George Floyd. Though TF1N concedes the Navy is more diverse than the U.S. population, it offered approximately 60 DEI recommendations, including de-emphasizing the use of standardized academic tests for Navy recruits, “bias awareness training” for all promotion board members, and developing a “subjectivity mitigation tool” to combat unconscious biases.
“TF1N even quantifies the assertion that “diversity is our strength”: “diverse teams are 58 percent more likely than non-diverse teams to accurately assess a situation.” Here TF1N cites a 2014 article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences studying price bubbles in experimental markets. The experiment, depicted in this slide, used 180 strangers “trained in business or finance” whose exposure to “diversity” meant briefly sitting white traders in a waiting room with other traders, where “at least one of the [other traders] was an ethnic minority.” These test subjects then made fake stock trades alone in their “separate cubicles” through a computer terminal. So contrary to TF1N’s portrayal, the study says nothing about teams (decisions are made alone by individuals) and nothing about assessing “situations” (it is about pricing and purchasing decisions).”
On the growing DEI bureaucracy within the Pentagon:
Clip 3
“Diversity may be a strength for America, but it cannot be an organizing principle for the Pentagon. Actual strength—physical strength, mental strength, and overall end strength—is our strength.
“DEI initiatives risk sapping this strength. By co-opting the Woke Left’s obsession with racial and gender diversity, the Pentagon’s DEI evangelists are ironically stifling the very type of diversity that might improve military performance: intellectual diversity. But that, of course, is the real point. The growing DEI bureaucracy inside the military is the same woke commissariat that has put an ideological straitjacket on America’s elite educational institutions. Tolerating no dissent from its orthodoxy, the DEI agenda promotes a culture of conformity that elevates the mindless repetition of dogmas over a true exchange of ideas.”
On DEI’s impact on national security:
Clip 4
“When our military leaders embrace the woke DEI agenda against the backdrop of mounting military failures, they validate the propaganda of our primary adversary and make us look even weaker.
“This matters because the U.S.-China competition is not simply a military competition; it is also an ideological competition between two fundamentally incompatible systems of government. At stake are values such as freedom of conscience, individual privacy, human rights, and self-government. If we give into the Wolf Warrior fiction that America is a racist country whose military is endemic with white supremacists, we have unilaterally disarmed in this ideological combat.
“War remains primarily a contest of wills, and by weakening America’s national pride through wokeism, the CCP increases its chances of winning World War III, either by defeating an unready American military in combat or by convincing America’s leaders to surrender without fighting. All of this has a demoralizing impact on our servicemembers and potential military recruits. After all, why volunteer to fight for a country that is racist? Why die for this country if you do not believe we are the good guys?”
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