General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted that he was not sure what the word “woke” means.
Milley spoke on Sunday with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who stated, “You talk about how the military is not woke. How the military officers should be reading Karl Marx,” then asked, “Is the U.S. military too woke?”
“No, not at all,” Milley initially responded, then continued, “You know, I’m not even sure what that word truly means.”
“But I would tell you that the military I see is a military that is exceptionally strong, it’s powerful, it’s ready,” Milley declared. “In fact, our readiness rate is — the way we measure readiness is better now than they’ve been in years.”
“This military is a lot of things, but woke it is not,” Milley claimed. “So, I take exception to that. I think that people say those things for reasons that are their own reasons. But it’s not true. It’s not accurate. And it is not to say, by the way, that there is — there is not some things out there that are — could be fit into that category. But I don’t think it certainly is — it is not a broad-brush description of the U.S. military as it exists today.”
In June 2021, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on President Biden’s 2022 budget request, Milley defended the reading of Critical Race Theory (CRT) texts by the United States military, asserting, “I’ve read Mao Tse-Tung; I’ve read Karl Marx; I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist.” Milley claimed he “personally” found it “offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, of being ‘woke’ because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”
Regarding “white rage,” Milley said, “But I do think it’s important actually for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read and the United States Military Academy is a university and it is important that we train and we understand, and I want to understand white rage and I’m white.”
The New York Post reported in September 2022 that Air Force cadets had been instructed not to use gender-specific terms like “Mom” or “Dad” and replace such terms with words such as “parent” or “caregiver.” That instruction was featured at the Air Force Academy in Colorado as part of cadets’ “Diversity and inclusion (D&I) training.” “Our leaders have deemed D&I a warfighting imperative,” the cadets were told.
In July 2021, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) started by saying to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, “Mr. Secretary, I have received, along with Congressman Crenshaw, several hundred whistleblower complaints about Pentagon extremist and diversity training. I just want to share a small selection of what your troops are saying.”
He followed by citing reports of a military history training session being replaced with mandatory training on police brutality, white privilege, and systemic racism; instructions to a member of Special Operations that “The U.S. Special Operations community is racist”; a general officer telling an Army officer that “the entire U.S. Army is racist”; a midshipman at the Naval Academy attesting that classmates were calling America a “fundamentally racist place” and were not challenged by school administrators; an airman saying their unit was forced into a racist exercise called a “privilege walk”; a Space Force officer saying an African-American servicemember said after the training that she would never have joined the military had she known that it was such a hotbed of racism; and a white airman who said he didn’t sign up to be indoctrinated, then filed separation paperwork.