Pentagon officials in the Biden administration, in charge of military personnel policy, defended pushing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the U.S. military during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Gil Cisneros, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, argued, “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to unit cohesion and trust.”
Cisneros had to read and explain a divisive statement from one of his employees criticizing White people. He was responsible for determining the outcome of an investigation into former DEI chief Kelisa Wing over her divisive tweets about White people.
UPDATE: Kelisa Wing, the Pentagon's "Diversity Chief" will receive no disciplinary action after a probe into her anti-white posts.
Now, imagine what would have happened had a white diversity chief said what she said about black people. https://t.co/JfilGzv1Dr
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 23, 2023
“Mr. Cisneros, are you familiar with the tweet? Can you please read the tweet aloud?” Rep. Elise Stefanik asked, referencing one of Wing’s controversial posts. Cisneros proceeded to read the post in its entirety.
“This is wildly inappropriate and unacceptable. Do you agree with that, Mr. Cisneros?” Stefanik asked.
“I do agree that that is not acceptable. It’s not condoned by… the Department of Defense,” he replied.
Regarding Wing’s comments about White people, the Pentagon said it wouldn’t issue disciplinary action against her.
The Army’s Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Agnes Schafer, argued, “A diverse and talented force of trained and cohesive teams is the most important indicator of our readiness.”
The Navy’s Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Franklin Parker, claimed that diversity would increase “our military readiness and maritime dominance by accessing the full range of our nation’s talent.”
The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Alex Wagner, insisted, “Our diversity and inclusion initiatives [are] informed by science and business best practices, congressional mandates, date-focused policy reviews and assessments, and the lived experiences of Airmen and Guardians.”
According to House Armed Services Subcommittee for Military Personnel Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN), the defense officials didn’t provide data to support their arguments.
At the end of the hearing, Banks cited nearly 530,000 hours of DEI training that the Department of Defense (DOD) spent on the military, saying that the officials did not provide any “empirical evidence” that it was worth a “single man-hour.”
“That’s why this hearing matters,” Banks added. “What’s the justification for that giant investment?”
During his opening statement: Wagner shared a personal story to justify using DEI in the military. He said that in his old job, his team prepared to present a report at a technology festival, and to gain interest, they decided to hand out branded socks.
He added that they planned to give out crew socks until a woman on his team pulled him aside and told him women don’t wear crew socks, that they wear ankle socks.
Wagner said his team proceeded to hand out crew socks and ankle socks and that the ankle socks were a “hit,” arguing that this showed the value of DEI in the military. “We need every tool available to defend the nation,” he said.
While the officials emphatically supported DEI for military recruitment, there was an awkward silence when Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) asked why the military was struggling with recruitment.
.@RepJackBergman asked civilian officials for the DOD and each service whether DEI is a positive or negative for military recruitment. Each one said "positive" or "very positive."
Bergman asks why the military is underwater with recruiting then.
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) March 23, 2023
Bergman said he would like the officials to provide evidence that backs up their statements and prove they weren’t “posturing.”
The DOD is trying to appease a small percentage of the military by pushing DEI instead of training our soldiers to fight. These policies threaten the efficiency of the U.S. military.