Top military leaders argue against claims that the military is “too woke”
June 6, 2022

It’s been roughly a year since chiefs for the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Navy argued against yet another accusation against the armed forces for being “too woke”. Specifically, that the military as a whole has become “increasingly woke and more concerned about social issues than warfighting.’’

This happened at the annual West naval conference when former deputy defense secretary and moderator, Robert Work, posed the question of wokeism to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday.

Gilday said, “I think it’s an assertion that isn’t really grounded on facts. We know that there’s strength in diversity; that is a scientifically proven fact.’’

He went on to explain that the Navy’s efforts to promote and protect diversity within his branch was actually building a stronger force, not weakening it.

Gilday added, “We know that esprit de corps within particularly our small units or ships, as an example, is an incredibly important part of combat effectiveness”.

In December of 2020, The Department of Defense released a report on diversity that identified across all branches of service, that officers were less diverse “than the eligible civilian population”. The report pointed out that Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians were all overwhelmingly underrepresented.

The report read, “Notably, the officer corps is significantly less racially and ethnically diverse than the enlisted population.”

This latest chapter in the great debate on the military being “too woke” comes after continued brainstorming, investigating, and policy making intended to create a more diverse and inclusive military with less extremism in the ranks.

In a previous discussion at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Indiana Representative Jim Banks questioned Gilday’s inclusion of Ibram X. Kendi’s “How To Be An Antiracist” on his required reading list.

Gilday responded:

“I am not going to sit here and defend cherry-picked quotes from somebody’s book. This is a bigger issue than Kendi’s book. What this is really about is trying to paint the United States military, and the United States Navy as weak, as woke. We are not weak. We are strong.’’

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger supported Gilday’s notion and defended his reading choice by saying, “There’s some places on Earth, maybe more than a handful, where you’re not allowed to read books. You’re only allowed to read this, and you’re only allowed to espouse that. The great part about Americans [is] it’s not run that way.’’

A year later, the debate on whether or not the military is “too woke” has only intensified with conservative lawmakers continuing to campaign to discredit and invalidate DoD programs designed to improve diversity and inclusion, eliminate extremism, and improve the handling of women’s health and wellbeing.

Following the most recent update to the Army’s Regulation 670-1, which covers grooming standards and wear of the uniform, Tucker Carlson, a conservative news host asserted that maternity uniforms and updated female hair regulations made “a mockery of the U.S. military.”

Dan Crenshaw, Texas representative and former Navy SEAL, even launched a web site on which active duty service members could anonymously “blow the whistle” on “woke ideology” anywhere in the military.

Ironically for the former SEAL Crenshaw, the Navy SEALs have developed new programs to increase recruiting efforts in “more diverse regions of the country”.

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