Rep. Gaetz Claims DEI Harms National Defense

Rep. Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz | Image by Congressman Matt Gaetz/Instagram

Rep. Matt Gaetz has sent a letter to the secretary of the Air Force expressing concern that that branch of the military is following a diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda at the expense of national security.

Gaetz’s (R-FL) office sent a copy of the letter to The Dallas Express, saying it called on Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to cease the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The letter claimed such policies have done significant harm to national security and to the ability of the Air Force to effectively recruit.

In the letter, Gaetz (R-FL) said the Air Force has promoted DEI “through numerous policy memos that neglect to mention or prioritize the [department’s] core purpose for existence: preserving national security.”

Gaetz contrasted how well the Air Force recruited under former President Donald Trump — who ended DEI training across the military, including training pertaining to critical race theory and “white privilege” — with the alleged diversity quotas under the Biden administration.

“Under former President Donald Trump’s 2020-21 recruiting policies, the [Air Force] hit its staffing and recruiting goal. Contrast that with last year under the Biden Administration, where the Army, Navy, and Air Force fell short of their recruiting goals,” Gaetz wrote.

“The [Air Force] is a key contributor to the misapplication of defense priorities, with DEI memoranda that send command signals to recruit a certain number of Americans based on superficial characteristics, like race or sex. According to your memo, the [Air Force] sought to recruit in FY 2022 8.5% black men, 4.5% black females, 6.5% Asian men, and 0.5% Native-American females.”

Gaetz claimed the Biden administration’s approach to recruiting for diversity had led to historic deficiencies in the armed forces.

“Unfortunately, the recruiting numbers would suggest a failure of DEI and social-experimentation programs. Your policies have resulted in numerous recruiting shortfalls of a historic manner; for example, the recruiting numbers from FY 20224 and FY 2023, were some of the weakest recruiting numbers in the history of the [Air Force]. Additionally, the public has observed the politicization of the [Air Force], resulting in waning public sentiment and trust in the military as an institution,” Gaetz claimed.

The Dallas Express reached out to the Air Force for comment but did not receive a reply by publication.

Later on Tuesday, the Air Force announced a DEI event at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, on October 20 called “We Belong: A Day of Resilience and Inclusivity.”

Activities centered on the theme of diversity included dividing Air Force personnel into a “control group” based on shared traits and a “diverse group” to emphasize the “importance of collaboration and adaptability.”

Another activity included spray-painting and smashing cars with a sledgehammer as a stand-in for “harmful stereotypes and the rejection of hateful words.”

Advocates of DEI hold that initiatives such as these are important to strengthening the military.

“All servicemembers, including heterosexual white male soldiers, ought to be commended for their selflessness and bravery. Our nation will forever benefit from their sacrifice, especially those who lost their lives during service.

“Truly honoring them requires a courageous, collective defense against the sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia that denies America opportunities to reach its full potential. This won’t happen if politicized efforts to suppress DEI in our military continue,” wrote DEI expert Shaun Harper in Forbes.

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