According to The Hill on September 17, the United States military has been facing criticism from Republicans over so-called “woke” policies. But what do they mean when they use that term? Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pushed back on this label, saying that he is “not even sure what the word truly means.”
So, what is behind these claims of “wokeism” in the military? It seems to stem from efforts to recruit a diverse group of service members and to be more inclusive to transgender soldiers.
The military has been actively working towards becoming more representative of the diverse country it serves. This means seeking out talented individuals regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
However, some politicians and candidates have used this as a political tool, claiming that the military is not prepared to take on modern threats. They argue that resources spent on “woke” policies would be better spent on legacy programs and reducing waste.
But according to Gen. Milley, the military is in better shape now than it has been in years past. He said that the military is dedicated to maintaining readiness, capabilities, and lethality. Additionally, the military is focused on modernizing to keep up with the ever-changing character of warfare.
Despite this, some Republicans continue to criticize the military’s support for diversity and inclusion as a form of “political ideology” that has infected the institution with a “woke mind virus.” These criticisms have created what defense analysts describe as “a real crisis” of confidence in military institutions.
This stance is not only harmful to the military’s reputation but also to its ability to recruit new service members. A poll conducted in June found that confidence in the military is at its lowest point in 25 years, with only 60 percent of Americans saying they have confidence in the institution.
It’s essential to remember that the military has a long history of promoting diversity and equal opportunity. Since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011, LGBTQ+ service members have been able to serve openly. The military has also been working to recruit more women and minorities to its ranks.
Rather than disparaging the military’s efforts towards diversity and inclusion, we should encourage and support them. The military’s strength comes from the diverse talents and experiences of its service members. Upholding this tradition will ensure that the military remains capable of meeting modern threats and continuing to represent the best of America.