By Dr. Scott Sturman, MD
US Air Force Academy ’72
United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Superintendent Richard Clark’s recent congressional testimony epitomized a senior military officer defending blatant sexual and racial discrimination.
Under the superintendent’s leadership the academy encouraged cadets to apply for the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program that prohibited white male applicants.
All other racial and sexual groups, including straight women, were eligible for the 9 weeks paid fellowship at a leading aerospace company.
When pressed to justify the abrogation of fundamental human rights, the general contended that the decision enhanced the development of “warfighters,” as if the word stands alone as a talisman to silence critics.
The failure to condemn the program’s abject bigotry in the public forum exposed an officer who is inured to hypocrisy and blinded by ideology.
The use of the term “warfighter” is ubiquitous in military parlance and is described in the Urban Dictionary as,
“…someone in the US special operations community, who have had multiple combat deployments and engagements. They live, breathe, eat, and workout for the sole purpose of the next deployment. They are immensely skilled and bad ass. Fighting wars is their career.”
Most service members do not meet these standards, as only 10% of the military is engaged in combat or possesses the requisite of attitude and competence.
In 2015 an article appearing in Task and Purpose the author called the validity of the “warfighters” into question and dismissed it as a cliché that is as much manipulative as it is inspirational. The observation was prescient, since the word has become a catchall expression with multiple, ever-changing connotations.
To its adherents, its implied meaning is unassailable, and therefore a convenient tool to defend and promote the most specious arguments.
The USAFA Administration declares the importance of training warfighters, but what does this mission mean?
In the preface to the academy’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, Superintendent Michael Gould stated that graduating a diverse corps of cadets is an important as the quality of academic education.
He alludes to the known benefits of diversity without supporting documentation and states that diversity is a military necessity.
USAFA leadership repeatedly denies the pervasiveness of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory (CRT) within the institution’s culture.
Every effort to investigate the penetration of these Marxist ideologies into the fabric of cadet life has been met with unyielding resistance.
Concerned alumni are expected to accept the superintendent’s reassurances that DEI is a mere communications tool and CRT a political science subject taught no differently than any other.
But documents produced by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch revealed instructional material on CRT, Black Lives Matter, White Privilege, and the creation myth of the Declaration of Independence.
These subjects are actively promoted far from the public eye at the highest levels of the academy’s leadership.
In 2024 USAFA will host the National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS), under the theme of “Embrace Culture. Empower People.” The controversial linkage between leadership and two DEI imperatives prompted USA Maj Gen (ret) Joe Arbuckle to respond:
“Leadership is not about culture or empowering people.
Leadership is about setting the right example and demonstrating the fundamental values of selfless service, integrity, loyalty, honesty, duty, honor, and country.
Military leadership is about the warrior culture—not some feel good, empowering people, identity driven DEI drivel.
Leadership is about having the physical and moral courage to stand tall in the face of fire and do the right thing, every time, no matter the consequences.
Leadership is about making the hard decisions based on traditional values and accepting responsibility for those decisions.
The NCLS Conference is a failure before it begins. If they want to truly embrace and talk about leadership, get some battle tested warriors to speak.”
Repressive, ideologically oriented organizations exert internal controls to maintain sociopolitical purity. Harmless sounding names like the Committee for Public Safety obfuscates the actual intent and purpose to purge nonconformists.
The Soviets embedded political officers or commissars within military ranks, and in many cases were given powers equivalent to operational commanders.
Until recently, the installation of political officers within the ranks of the American military has been a foreign concept.
However, USAFA has trained 82 cadets and members of the faculty and staff to serve as Diversity and Inclusion representatives, who are authorized to advise cadets on diversity at the academy.
Each member displays a prominent purple rope worn over the left shoulder.
The cadre reports parallel and outside the military chain of command from the squadron level to the academy’s DEI Chief.
The potential for abuse of power and intimidation of cadets living in a structured military setting is reminiscent of Orwell’s Thought Police. Anonymous accusations, psychological pressure, and relentless propaganda are formidable weapons to force compliance.
/plato.stanford.edu/entries/marcuse/”>Herbert Marcuse, an unrepentant neo-Marxist and Father of the New Left, predicted the slow, inexorable march of neo-Marxism through America’s academic institutions.
The United States military academies are no exemption.
Quietly and methodically, every recent Superintendent at all of these institutions promotes forms of critical theory and its corollaries DEI and CRT. They are masters of deception in their quest to train the next generation of warfighters.
But their warfighters are just as apt to profess diversity, equity, and inclusion as they are duty, honor, and country as the rallying points for courage, hope, and faith.
In the face of the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth I issued a call to arms, “… being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood.”
She called for warriors, not warfighters.
Congressional Medal of Honor winner MSGT Roy Benavidez understood the value of patriotism and meaning of the flag, and Air Force ace Brig Gen (ret) Steve Ritchie’s highlighted the importance of teamwork, courage, and merit.
Slogans and Marxist rhetoric do not ensure victory, but unity rather than division, ability rather than appearance, and service rather than self are the essential elements of success.
Most cadets understand this ethos and yearn to be warriors—if only woke leaders would step aside and let them develop to full potential.
Scott Sturman is the President of the USAFA Class of 1972
Photo from recent BCT at the US Air Force