Last week began a veritable bacchanalia of celebrations of “PRIDE” month by the US Armed Forces. Why a military that has gone 0-2 in the last 20 years and is sucking swamp water in recruiting would want to devote a month to celebrating sexual deviance is beyond me, but that is where we are. The Air Force seems to have aimed for the stars (‘Embarrassing’: Air Force Twitter Account Sparks Outrage After Going Way Too Far in Honor of ‘Pride Month’ and Air Force Using Taxpayer Dollars to Fly Service Members to Pride Events).
In the interest of interservice fairness, I’d like to point out that “Harpy Daniels,” the trans/drag/whatever the Navy had appointed to be “Digital (ewww) Ambassador” (see Rum, Buggery, and the Lash Makes a Comeback as the US Navy Fights Recruiting Woes; Well, Better Hold the Rum) performs with his equivalent in the US Army. This has nothing to do with PRIDE month but because I have a kid in the USAF and don’t want them to feel picked on more than usual.
@austinwhaley15 #duet with @Harpy Daniels #fyp yes, we come in all branches! #dragqueen #gay #lgbtq #drag #rpdr #makeup #army #navy ♬ Originalton – CENKGO
All joking aside, one of the most telling episodes underscoring the damage done to the military by celebrating what was, up until not that long ago, a felony under the UCMJ took place at the Pentagon’s 12th Annual LGBTQ+ Pride Month Celebration on June 7.
The keynote speaker was Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, Lieutenant General Deanna Burt.
Since January of this year, more than 400 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been introduced at the state level. That number is rising and demonstrates a trend that could be dangerous for servicemembers, their families, and the readiness of the force as a whole.
When I look at potential candidates, say, for squadron command, I strive to match the right person to the right job. I consider their job performance and relevant experience first. However, I also look at their personal circumstances, and their family is also an important factor. It’s a good match for a job does not feel safe being themselves and performing at their highest potential at a given location, or if their family could be denied critical health care due to the laws in that state, I am compelled to consider a different candidate and perhaps less qualified.
Those barriers are a threat to our readiness, and they have a direct correlation to the resiliency and well-being of our most important operational advantage: our people. The Department of Defense’s success depends on getting the most from every person on the team. Each team member deserves, at a minimum, to be treated with respect and dignity and to serve in an environment which they can grow and thrive.
The diverse and inclusive tapestry of the Department of Defense must continue to embrace the LGBTI+ plus community. A 2022 poll showed that almost 20 percent of the people born between the years of 1997 and 2004 identifies LGBTQ+. That means without proper policies, messaging, and allies; we are potentially alienating 20 percent, 20 percent, of the key demographic and age group that we are looking for to recruit. And remember, the DpD is experiencing recruiting shortfalls across the entire enterprise.
Diversity, inclusion are both force multipliers and warfighting imperatives that enable our competitive advantage against adversaries. We must be able to draw from the best and brightest talent across our nation to develop and retain a force comprised of backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets as diverse as the challenges we face as a nation.
To get after this in the space force, for example, we ask each Guardian to embody the Guardian Spirit. The Guardian Spirit is a collective representation of what it means to be a member of the United States Space Force. Those with the Guardian Spirit are principled public servants possessing character. Beyond question, they are space-minded warfighters committed to mastering the profession of arms. Guardians are bold and collaborative problem solvers exemplifying the courage to debate new ideas and continually challenge the status quo. They connect with teammates to experiment, fail, learn, adapt, and innovate.
No matter the challenge, the Guardian Spirit says nothing about which bathroom they use or which gender or sex they are.
Of course, there is the usual nonsense about diversity and inclusion being essential for mission success. I’d like to see an example of this just once. The British Army, which was the best army in the world for nearly two centuries, recruited regiments from within a zone. The early Highland regiments were raised by clan chieftains from their kinsmen. They managed to raise extraordinary military formations from Indian, Himalayan, and Pakistani tribal levies by hewing to homogeneity. One of the key reasons the Afghan National Army that we spent 20 years and billions of dollars trying to make look like a fighting force folded like a cheap suit was that, unlike the Brits, we insisted that each battalion be a proportional demographic slice of Afghan tribes. For any “diverse” French Foreign Legion you can name, I can give you a dozen homogenous counterexamples.
What is stunning is that even by the standards of the military run into the ground by Lloyd Austin and Mark Milley, this is an extraordinarily partisan political speech. The fact that it was televised by the Pentagon and not behind closed doors shows the Pentagon was sending a message to the nation about its enthusiasm for exotic sexual practices and disfiguring surgery.
Any military officer, particularly a senior one, launching a fact-free attack on laws passed by several states is just stupid. This kind of statement would run perilously close to violating Article 88, UCMJ, if uttered by a commissioned officer stationed in Florida or 18 other states. It is terrible leadership to encourage subordinates to get involved in state and local politics, not to mention a violation of the Hatch Act, and it is stupid politics to create a House and Senate voting bloc opposed to your service.
What is most stunning is Burt’s claim that she has sandbagged officers slated to take command of units located in states of which she disapproves because of an inchoate fear that they or their families would be in danger. She says she’s had to slate other, less qualified officers in those positions. The subtext, of course, is that all the top-quality Space Force officers possess some exotic sexuality or inclination. Therefore, any straight white male you find commanding in more backward states is a second-stringer.
I suspect this is utter bullsh**, but as it was a public statement and “against penal interest,” as Law & Order’s Jack McCoy would say, it merits investigation by the DOD Inspector General. If the facts match her bluster, she should be shown the door at a couple of lower grades.
Over the last eight years, I’ve become convinced that the “long march” through the Defense Department has been accomplished and that institution is largely enemy territory. I saw the first inkling of that in 1992 when the senior officers I worked for in the Pentagon were unanimously and openly pro-Clinton. Should we be fortunate enough to get another Republican in the White House, one of the first orders of business has to be taking a page from George C. Marshall’s playbook. He looked deep into the officer corps for men who could fight and win the next world war and ruthlessly replaced the entrenched hierarchy. Eight years has been enough time to draw the enemy out into the open and initiate a purge — minus the bullet in the back of the head because that would be wrong — that would make Josef Stalin jealous.