The service academy superintendents have denied using Critical Race Theory (CRT) to indoctrinate what are supposed to be America’s highest quality military officers but new evidence exposing them as liars is revealed by courageous cadets every week now.
The President of Veterans for Fairness and Merit (VFM), an academy graduate, wrote in an email to retired Air Force Lt General Rod Bishop, Chairman of STARRS.US , on September 15, 2022:
These Air Force Academy slides are incontrovertible evidence of CRT “indoctrination” ongoing at USAFA. Unfortunately, it now pervades DoD.
Particularly concerning is this excerpt: “Not “Colorblind” or “I don’t see color” or “we’re all just people””
Proponents of CRT mistakenly view “colorblindness” as a white supremacist tool designed to oppress people of color and to preserve “white privilege.” Elimination of colorblindness as a cultural norm is a centerpiece of the CRT agenda.
The underlying principle of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (and of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) is to require that American society be “colorblind,” i.e., treated by all governments equally, including before the law, regardless of race.
For our military, colorblindness is also a subset of an essential cultural value – selflessness. Subordination of self (including of subgroup identities) requires constant, unqualified commitment to the mission and to teammates over oneself and anyone else’s personal considerations (including race, ethnicity, heritage). Teammates on the battlefield must be oblivious to skin color, ethnicity and heritage. Mutual trust among teammates, whereby all have complete, unqualified commitment to each other (and complete trust that the commitment is reciprocal), regardless of such personal characteristics, is essential to unit cohesion and combat effectiveness.
LTG H.R. McMaster put it succinctly here:
Preserving the Warrior Ethos. H. R. McMaster. National Review. October 28, 2021. “The U.S. military must continue to evolve toward an institution in which all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin, can fully belong and enjoy equal treatment, because nothing is more destructive to teams than racism or any form of prejudice. But civilian and military leaders must not allow reified postmodernist theories to erode the sacred trust between warriors or diminish the meritocracy and objective realities that are essential to preserving the warrior ethos as the foundation of combat effectiveness. (emphasis added) Warriors should be judged by their integrity, trustworthiness, physical toughness, mental resilience, courage, selflessness, and humaneness.”
Focus on race (rather than requiring colorblindness) in officer accessions, assignments and promotions is not only unconstitutional/unlawful, it is antithetical to that cultural necessity. It also builds distrust and resentment. When used as a factor in officer accessions, assignments or promotions (as is now happening, in clear violation of Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), it also dilutes meritocracy, unarguably reducing leadership quality and, secondarily, creating resentment and further division.
Focus on differences (of race, for example) inherently involves focus on self (not selflessness) and is thus dis-unifying. A good example of how that focus (on race) degrades our military culture is evident in this ARMY Magazine article, written by a Black lieutenant colonel who measures success in terms of the number of Black females who are selected for higher grade.
LTC Octavia Scott explains why meritocracy must be destroyed:
Commit “Intentional Acts of Inclusion” to Combat Racism, Army Magazine, May 19, 2021 LTC Scott argues for change in military culture, diluting meritocracy with “intentional acts of inclusion” in order to increase Black female representation in Military Intelligence senior officer billets. As a Black female, newly promoted LTC, she sees her future through the lens of achievement of higher rank by Black female MI officers. Her mindset is the antithesis of a “colorblind culture” of selfless service. She admits having not experienced any event of overt racism, yet claims the Army is systemically racist, as proven by “underrepresentation,” which she equates to “exclusion,” of black females in MI ranking roles. Not considering whether “underrepresentation” might be due to factors other than presumed racial bias, her article is filled with baseless assumptions, non sequiturs, and proposals that are nothing more than race-based affirmative action couched in modern DEI terminology. That she was promoted to O-5 should concern anyone who understands the importance of a colorblind, meritocratic culture in which Soldiers are judged by their performance, not at all by their skin color or gender.
This article demonstrates the degradation DEI has been causing to the culture of selfless service – what used to be the required subordination of self, including of sub-group identity, and commitment to mission and teammates – and to the dilution of meritocracy with racial and gender preferences, all diminishing leadership quality and combat effectiveness. If her views of those fundamental tenets represent those of future Army leaders, we should expect to have an inferior military readiness posture (with inferior leadership) and, consequently, elevated risk of being drawn into armed, potentially catastrophic, conflict because of that all-too-evident weakness.
This unlawful and brazen movement within DoD advancing CRT tenets threatens our national security and must be stopped.
VFM’s president wrote a subsequent email to General Bishop on September 16th discussing the illegal use of racial and gender preferences for command position and promotion selection, and detailing the negative impacts on the forces and readiness:
On the subject of the use of race (and gender) in cadet rank/position selection, an Army officer (US Military Academy at West Point grad) who was a former company tactical officer at USMA in the 1990s confirmed that when he was a tac, race and gender quotas were explicitly used in the cadet rank and position nomination/selection process. (He’s a VFM member.) I would be surprised if USAFA has not been doing the same thing.Such discriminatory practices are nothing new, and they teach negative cultural lessons to cadets.
- They diminish the primary importance of meritocracy (the destruction of which is a priority of CRT proponents).
- They erode cadet morale (because they are both fundamentally unfair and recognized by most to be antithetical to optimal performance/excellence).
- They breed resentment and thus are divisive and corrosive to unit cohesion.
- They are unfair to high performing minorities/women who deserve selection and the presumption that a rank or position was deserved on the basis of merit, but who are deprived of that presumption because of the “affirmative action” environment in which we operate.You pointed out something I had not previously identified, namely that their widespread use disincentivizes excellence/breeds mediocrity in the form of “why should I bother [to work as hard as I can and go the extra mile to do my best when I will be judged not solely on the basis of my performance but instead on the basis my skin color and gender]”? USAFA (and USMA) should not be using policies the natural consequences of which (proven by what you have been told by some cadets, apparently) diminish the ethical imperative of relentless pursuit of excellence – always pushing oneself to do one’s best, even on a bad day.Similarly, such preferences breed lack of respect for the chain of command, both directly and secondarily because most in the chain of command disingenuously either deny that they use quotas or they conceal it, or (if they admit it) claim that their use is fair and does not diminish meritocracy (as did the Chief of Naval Personnel, discussed here). Cadets are too smart to be fooled, and officials’ conduct that predictably instills distrust in the officer chain of command is an irresponsible dereliction. It is sad to know that such distrust is being inculcated in cadets, and it surely is demotivating to high performers who came to USAFA with high expectations, only to learn that their officer chain of command is untrustworthy. How well do military units perform when they deem their superiors untrustworthy?Yes, it is our moral obligation to provide our future warriors with the “best-qualified” leaders we can find; “qualified” isn’t good enough on the battlefield (especially when the “qualified” bar is subject to adjustment to meet demographic composition goals). As you know, combat is a form of meritocracy that knows no color or gender and where, other things being equal, the best led force will likely defeat – kill – those who are less well led. Our soldiers and airmen who are putting their lives on the line deserve only the “best-qualified” leaders. We should be doing that 100% of the time, never compromising leader quality to fulfill ideology-based social justice agendas.In the USAFA DEI slide deck you sent, you will nowhere find the words “merit,” “meritocracy,” “best,” “best qualified,” “selfless,” “selflessness,” “colorblind,” “Equal Protection of the Law,” or “Constitution.” The reason is those concepts are antithetical to DEI where DEI is disassociated with the concept of merit and goes beyond just diversity of thought and instead wanders into racial diversity.A few slides demonstrate specifically how those concepts are diminished.Slide 9 expressly defines Diversity to include diversity of race. Nowhere is it explained how diversity of race reliably translates to diversity of thought and, more importantly in the Air Force, to improved performance/combat effectiveness.Slide 11 only vaguely defines “Inclusion,” a purposeful obfuscation since apparently “participative leadership” at USAFA includes, in cadet rank/position selection, discrimination on the basis of race and gender. We know “inclusion” in the USAF means using race and gender discrimination in such things as pilot training selection, diluting meritocracy (and, at least in the case of race, likely violating the law). Also, and tellingly, nowhere in the slides is there any caution that “Inclusion” should never be construed to mean that it would be acceptable to consider someone’s race or gender in assignment or promotion selection. That omission speaks loudly.Slide 16 (fifth bullet point) teaches, by disapproving of the word “colorblind,” that “Inclusion” as implemented by the USAF includes not only focus on self and racial subgroup identity, which is antithetical to the selfless servant (total subordination of self and subgroup identity), colorblind warrior ethos (and unqualified, reciprocal commitment to teammates regardless of skin color) discussed at length in my earlier email.Slides 7 and 17 claim that the principles taught in the presentation make one an “inclusive leader of character.” Some of the concepts (e.g., exercise of dignity and respect; self-reflection) no doubt are traits of a good leader, and it is good that they are being taught. Claiming that a racially “diverse and inclusive force is a warfighting imperative” (slide 8), however, (echoing an unproven claim of DoD DEI ideology contrived long ago to facilitate the legal argument that using racial preferences (antiwhite discrimination) is lawful/Constitutional) is both false and offensive to the principle of meritocracy, to fundamental fairness, and to Equal Protection of the Law as mandated by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution (and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act). It is therefore false and misleading to characterize adoption of such teachings as being consistent with good character. Leaders of character follow the law and don’t obfuscate or prevaricate in an effort to justify their actions.Finally, it is worth remembering that the military officer’s oath includes the words “that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same,” referring to the Constitution. It is impossible to reconcile adherence to that oath with promoting the use of race in military officer accession, assignment or promotion programs.
This piece was written by Col. Rob Maness on September 18, 2022. It originally appeared in RobManess.com and is used by permission.
The opinions expressed by contributors and/or content partners are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Drew Berquist.