Pentagon says diversity training essential in ‘defending the nation’

Sen. Ted Cruz said ad portrays soldiers as 'pansies'

The Pentagon defended the military’s diversity and inclusion training programs amid a torrent of criticism, saying they are essential for recruiting the "right people" in its duty to defend the nation.​

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was asked during Tuesday’s briefing about GOP lawmakers creating sites urging whistleblowers in the armed services to expose progressive diversity training programs, some of which have reportedly deemed white people "inherently evil."

"We certainly respect the oversight that Congress provides. I’m not going to comment on any specific one initiative that members of Congress might be doing​," Kirby said. "What I can speak to is what we’re really focused on here at the department and that’s defending the nation. And that means putting in place the right resources, the right strategies, the right operational concepts to do that, around the world.​"


Kirby said the military needs "good people" to keep warships, aircraft and other military systems operating efficiently.

"And the ​secretary has been very clear and fairly unapologetic about the fact that we want to get all the best talent that we can available from the American people. If you ​meet the standards and you’re qualified to be in the military — and you’re willing to raise your hand and serve this country​ — we want you to be able to do and we want you to be able to do it free of hate and fear and discrimination​," he said.

(Sen. Tom Cotton (left) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Getty Images))

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) began a campaign last week that seeks to have military members report the "woke ideology."

"Enough is enough. We won’t let our military fall to woke ideology. We have just launched a whistleblower webpage where you can submit your story. Your complaint will be legally protected, and go to my office and @SenTomCotton," Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, wrote on Twitter.

T​he two GOP lawmakers said they were prompted to act after Cotton’s meeting with Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, the former Space Force commander who was relieved of his duties when he said Marxism is being instilled in the military through diversity and equity training ordered by Pentagon brass.​

"I was concerned by what I heard and will be pressing senior military leaders for answers," Cotton posted on Twitter. 


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin addressed concerns about the military’s training programs and responded directly to Sen. Ted Cruz’s criticism about the quality of the nation’s fighting forces during an interview with CNN on Memorial Day. 

Cruz (R-Texas) accused the Army of portraying soldiers as "pansies" in a recruiting ad that features a female soldier with "two moms" and compared the spot to a Russian ad that showed buff soldiers doing pushups and leaping out of airplanes.

Austin said America’s foes "would like to capitalize on talking points like that," and added that the US military will never be "soft."

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