by Jenna Gulick
August 4, 2021
Critical race theory (CRT) is all over the news today. Whether it’s in our schools, universities, workplaces, or government offices, the Left is pushing this woke ideology rooted in Marxism across the nation. CRT ideology fosters discontent, divisiveness, and disloyalty to America instead of the unity and equality that it claims are its goals. Those on the Left who promote CRT are not content with spreading it to our schools, our workplaces, or our government—they are now targeting our military, the institution sworn to protect and defend our Constitution. The Left’s promotion of critical race theory in the military can dangerously affect our nation’s security.
Ever since the Biden administration came to power, the promotion of critical race theory has accelerated in the ranks. In February, following the Capitol riots, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a “stand down” in the military searching for “extremism” in the ranks, creating the Countering Extremism Working Group to implement his orders. According to Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin (ret.), Secretary Austin based this initiative on the assumption that the military is riddled with “white supremacists,” an assumption rooted in CRT.
Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier saw the result of this stand down firsthand. He spoke out against CRT, saying he had received a training booklet—the fruits of Secretary Austin’s order. The booklet gave multiple, one-sided examples of extremism, including the January capitol rioting, but failed to mention the violent civil uprisings during the summer of 2020. He also said that his base’s inclusion initiative asked them to read a book called So You Want to Talk about Race? The book suggested social justice groups and political figures for readers to support, and it called the U.S. a “white supremacist” nation throughout the book. “The diversity, inclusion and equity industry and the trainings we are receiving in the military … is rooted in critical race theory, which is rooted in Marxism,” Lohmeier said. Because of Lohmeier’s comments, General Stephen Whiting, head of the U.S. Space Operations Command, removed Lohmeier from his position as commander of the 11th Space Warning Squadron.
After Lohmeier’s removal, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) called for whistleblowers to speak out about CRT. They set up a link where service members can anonymously write about their experiences with woke ideology in the military. According to Sen. Cotton on Washington Watch, they have received over 300 “serious, credible complaints.” For example, a young cadet “did not realize the Air Force was such a racist institution when she enlisted, and she never would have enlisted if she knew that was the case.” Another service member said that “he was [so] tired of these indoctrination sessions…as opposed to tactical and operational excellence that he planned to leave when his enlistment contract is up.” Cotton said that the CRT indoctrination “silently corrode[s] morale and cohesion.”
As Sen. Cotton pointed out, the danger of CRT is that it fosters divisiveness and distrust among our troops. The precious time that our soldiers could be spending on training for war readiness, lethality, and mutual trust is instead being wasted on ideology sessions espousing that the nation for which they fight and the Constitution they have sworn to defend is inherently racist. Why would soldiers risk their lives to protect a cruel, oppressive country? “Our military’s strength depends on the unity of our troops and the knowledge that America is a noble nation worth fighting for,” Sen. Cotton pointed out. “Critical race theory teaches that race is a person’s most important characteristic, and that America is an evil, oppressive place.”
Instead of fostering unity among troops who need to fight together against the enemy, CRT is teaching our soldiers that their white comrades oppress their fellow soldiers of color. As FRC’s own General Boykin said, “All this is doing is driving a wedge between members of the military. And there’s nothing more important on the battlefield—not weapons, not the technology—[than] the cohesion and the morale of those men and women who are out there fighting. They make the difference. That’s how you win on the battlefield.”
If the Left continues to push CRT in the military, morale and patriotism in the ranks will likely continue to plummet, and our military’s effectiveness will suffer because of it. We need our troops to love their country, believe in the Constitution, and implicitly trust their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen. As Sen. Cotton said, “The military’s strength is not its ‘diversity’ but its ability to weather adversity through unity. We need to teach our young troops … to befriend, fight alongside, and, if necessary, die for their comrades on the battlefield — not to obsess about skin color.”
Jenna Gulick is a Development intern at Family Research Council.