Air Force Academy STARRS Authors Woke Agenda

Military leadership is trying to hide its efforts to force leftist ideology on the ranks

By Col. Ron Scott, PhD, USAF ret, USAFA ’73
STARRS President

Since the summer of 2020, members of Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization, have filed 37 Freedom of Information Act requests with the military academies seeking information about woke and divisive policies and curricular trainings being used in the schools.

Only one has been satisfactorily answered. None have met the statutory requirement for a response within 10 business days, 20 for more complicated requests.

It took a lawsuit by Judicial Watch to compel the U.S. Air Force Academy to produce documents requested in FOIAs related to systemic racism at the academy.

The superintendent at the time, Lt Gen. Jay Silveria, had declared in a July 8, 2020, letter to the “academy family” (permanent party, parents, cadets, and graduates) that “systemic racism” exists at the Air Force Academy and directed an assessment of the extent of the racism due to him no later than Sept. 18, 2020.

STARRS filed a FOIA request on Oct. 12, 2020, to get access to the assessment.

A federal court agreed with Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, compelling the academy to produce the 167-page document. Every page was originally labeled FOUO, “for official use only,” to shield the report from the public. This was an inappropriate use of FOUO. More troubling, 52 entire pages were completely redacted. Why?

A thorough review of the remaining unredacted pages revealed no evidence of racism, let alone systemic racism, in the academy.

Perhaps more revealing were passages such as Appendix D, which describes how Cadet Squadron Air Officers Commanding and their Academy Military Training noncommissioned officers are extensively indoctrinated into critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here is a quote from this section:

“[Name redacted] is spearheading an initiative for AOC and AMT education around race and racism. In order to be an AOC or AMT at this Academy, AOCs and AMTs should be willing to facilitate and actively engage in discussions surrounding racism at this Academy and around the world. If AOCs and AMTs cannot display their willingness to actively be an ally in this fight against racism, they do not belong at this Academy.”

[STARRS NOTE: More on the Marxist term “ally”]

While the academy “hid” the assessment from the public, they used it to create, train, and install 90 cadet officers and noncommissioned officers throughout the cadet wing:

Cadets pose for a photo after graduating from the Cadet Wing Diversity and Inclusion Program this summer, allowing them to advise students on diversity at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Each cadet wears a purple rope across their left shoulder symbolizing their position as a diversity representative. (U.S. Air Force Academy photo and caption)

These cadets are our future military officers — the men and women who will one day be tasked with heading one of the most powerful military branches in the world.

Unfortunately, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Earlier this year, Air Force Academy Diversity and Inclusion training slides were leaked to Fox News. The training urged cadets not to call parents “mom and dad” for fear of offending others and discouraged them from seeing the world through a “colorblind” lens.

Air Force Academy DEI training

Caught off guard by the leak, the superintendent, Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, released a letter to the “academy family” through the academy’s Association of Graduates, blaming the briefing on the cadets and asserting claims were made “out of context.” Since he also did not include a copy of the slides, General Clark presumed the graduate community would just take him at his word.

According to reliable sources, since the Fox News experience, DEI and CRT training slides are now labeled CUI, “controlled unclassified information,” to shield the material from the public. STARRS filed a FOIA request on this practice on June 11, 2023.

It is obvious what academy leadership is hiding: evidence. That is, they are hiding the fact that there is a lack of evidence to support the claim of racism, let alone systemic racism.

The question is: Why? Why does the academy leadership hide the evidence — or the lack thereof?

The academy’s embrace of woke initiatives is part of a larger pattern within the military.

Over the past several years, the Defense Department has become a petri dish for leftist ideology. It began in 2008 when the Black Congressional Caucus successfully chartered the Military Leadership Diversity Commission in the fiscal 2009 National Defense Authorization Act.

Then there are five executive orders of importance. The first (EO 12583), which followed two years of MLDC development, was issued by former President Barack Obama in August 2011, establishing diversity and inclusion staff across the federal government.

In September 2020, former President Donald Trump put a stop to the dangerous DEI political idea (EO 13950). President Joe Biden canceled Trump’s effort and doubled down with three executive orders (EO 13985, 14035, and 14091) of his own.

The result throughout our armed forces has been devastating. Recruitment is at an all-time low, morale is sinking, and the capacity of our troops to effectively deter and neuter potential threats is rapidly declining.

But you can rely on the ideologues in charge to hide these facts, too.

Ron Scott is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and president and CEO of STARRS, Inc.

First published in the Washington Examiner

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