DOD STARRS Woke Agenda

Evidence that the DEI/CRT agenda in the military DOES hurt recruiting and retention

STARRS has collected evidence there is a large elephant in the room regarding the recruiting crisis that the military and DC national security elite don’t want to face: Woke policies ARE having negative consequences on recruitment and retention.

Comments made by military service members, veterans and their families–who were proud of their service–are no longer recommending military service due to the Marxist/Leftist CRT/DEI/Woke policies that have infected service branches and academies.

STARRS has always said ‘listen to your people’. Get out of the Beltway bubble and read what they are saying:

What Military People are Saying (pdf)
Updated 28 November 2023 – 121 pages


The STARRS website monitors the news and other sources on the internet concerning the Leftist DEI and CRT agenda in the military to reveal what has been happening. Often on news articles, videos, etc on these topics, there will be a comment section where people voice their opinions on the article.

Occasionally, the STARRS webmaster, who is collecting articles, will skim through the comments, curious to see what people are thinking. When there are powerful, insightful quotes about the article, she adds them to the end of the post on the STARRS website and tags the post with #We the People Pulse.

The only quotes gathered are mainly from those where it is obvious the writer is currently in or retired from the military, or from a military family.

Collecting these comments has revealed a major trend that the pool of people from which the military has drawn throughout our history to serve has been alienated by DoD’s policies.

These people, most who loved and are proud of their service, are now not recommending military service to their children or others due to the Leftist woke policies in the military and loss of trust in leaders and institutions.

We’ve gathered these quotes in a document (pdf) for the purpose of rebutting, with this evidence, the self-serving, conclusory, and false assertions by DOD officials who say that recruiting and retention are not being hurt by DoD’s ultra progressive, ideology inspired, policies (many of which are grounded in DEI) as well as DoD’s uncritical, unscientific and intransigent position regarding its vaccine mandate and disregard of federal law in how it implemented the mandate and dealt with RFRA accommodation requests.

Recently, there appears to be a coordinated media PR campaign trying to dismiss concerns about wokeness in the military. We understand these senior leaders are in box. They cannot admit publicly that DEI has an adverse effect on recruiting and retention because they must go along with the political narrative. If they do admit DEI is having a negative effect then the obvious solution is to back away from and remove DEI.

STARRS member of the Board of Directors, Brigadier General Christopher Petty (US Army, ret) wrote an open letter to his fellow general officers encouraging them to stand up and do the right thing and push back against the DEI agenda in the military. In it, he says, “You can no longer look the other way. The time has come to confront it.”

STARRS has long advocated to the military leaders of today to “please just listen to your people.” Trust and loyalty in the military should go up and down the chain of command. That appears to not be happening. Doubling down on divisive woke policies instead seems to be the order the of the day.

What Military People are Saying (pdf)
Updated 28 November 2023 – 121 pages

The evidence is stunning and shows there is a large elephant in the room regarding the recruiting crisis that the military doesn’t want to face.

The Army is planning to spend $398 million dollars on an advertising/marketing campaign to try to solve their recruitment problem, which is a lot of money in an attempt to not face the obvious that the comments make clear:

Leftist/Marxist DEI/CRT/ESG policies have consequences.

The war against men have consequences.

Drumbeating for years that America is “systematically racist” and there is “white privilege” has consequences on both sides.

Hard consequences.

DoD’s reluctance to admit the truth (in recent, sworn Congressional testimony) shows that it is out of touch with its traditional base of support. That is unsurprising, as logically anyone in touch would not have pursued this alienating agenda, and now that the evidence is in, those responsible seek to avoid accountability.

DoD wishes its DEI agenda were accepted by its base, but the evidence reveals the truth:

The base does NOT accept DoD’s ideologically progressive agenda.

The base has lost trust and confidence in their leadership.

The base declines to serve under this agenda.

The truth requires policy adjustments, now, before further damage is done to military readiness. Those policy adjustments are both cultural and mission focus in nature.

Culturally, we need to return our military to meritocracy undiluted by preferences of any kind, discontinuing incessant focus on identity differences and reverting to what unites us as a Nation and a military–true selflessness, which requires subordination not only of self but also of subgroup identity and total commitment to the mission and to teammates, regardless of any differences.

Merit, alone, should determine school selections, assignments, command selection, and promotions.

Mission focus should shift away from DEI and toward warfighting, meaning rid the schedule of DEI training and accountability measures and devote more time and resources to training warfighters to fight, to maintaining our equipment, weaponry, aircraft and vessels.

For those of you who have served in the military, you may be disturbed or shocked by some of the statements and the overall realization of what has happened.

Hopefully through this document, those who unaware will have a better understanding of the harm being done to our military through these radical policies and some of you will join with STARRS in standing up against CRT/DEI in our armed forces.

We need to end this ideological assault upon our armed forces. Removing the divisive DEI/CRT agenda in the military and bringing back a colorblind meritocracy culture is vital.

It is not an overstatement to say our national security just may depend on it.

What Military People are Saying (pdf)
Updated 28 November 2023 – 121 pages


The Storm

Torrential rain and hurricane-type wind gusts during an intense storm in May 2019 at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Washington DC (click to enlarge):


  • I support your efforts 110%. I can only pray that your efforts will prove to be the catalyst that produces the absolute 180 degree turn around needed to return our military to its former preeminence.

    Right is still on OUR side!!! Thank you for your past efforts and keep up the great work.

  • I’m curious if the list of the comments you compiled [93 pages) has ever been sent to the SecDef / DepSecDef. I don’t want to believe they would ignore the hundreds of comments you collected and not make policy changes to correct the direction the department of defense has headed.

    I served in the AF from 1969 to 2003 (enlisted and officer) and continued to serve as an AF Civilian for 14 years. After reading the comments you have compiled it truly saddens and quite frankly angers me.

    • No, good idea. We’ve pushed it on our website, our contacts and on social media to Beltway national security elite but the great mystery is they don’t “see” it nor want to see or believe it because the obvious solutions are something the narrative/agenda doesn’t allow, especially under the current administration.

      Also, we’re observers collecting these comments manually, ad hoc, as we happen to see them. The govt/DoD has AI tools to automatically monitor sentiment so they have to have seen this trend long before we did. When a senior DOD official gets ratio’d really bad on Twitter for a woke tweet, their staff has to see their policies are turning off people. When the Army puts out a video on YouTube and gets ratio’d, they have to see it. But curiously, everyone continues to pretend not to see the big elephant in the room, and just say kids are overweight or something to explain the recruitment crisis. No one wants to tell the emperor he has no clothes on.

      The good news is when the leftist/marxist/woke ideology infecting our government and culture is no longer tolerated (or people come to realize how miserable and deadly it is) and there is decent, honorable leadership, people will be back in droves in the military. That’s why STARRS exists, to get to that point.

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