The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Secretary Austin,
This is an appeal for you to consider the repercussions of following the discriminatory policies of President Biden’s EO of February 16, 2023, which in effect doubles down on insertion of Marxist-based ideology into the Department of Defense (DOD).
Please know that this is not intended as an attack on you, nor is it intended to deny that there are not discrimination issues real or imagined yet to be resolved, but rather that the strategy you are using will only serve to create tangential problems far more egregious than those you are trying to fix. Problems that we believe will undermine team cohesion, trust, and ultimately national security.
Military leaders should maintain institutional neutrality on controversial political questions extraneous to the business of building a deterrent force capable of winning our nation’s wars. Contrary to this obligation, this new policy advances primarily political aims rather than military strength and readiness.
With that in mind, we respectfully request that you consider the following facts in your efforts to right wrongs of the past, without creating new wrongs in the present. To that end, these are our specific concerns:
On February 16, 2023, President Biden issued another Executive Order (EO), “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” According to Stephen Miller, President of America First Legal:
With the stroke of a pen, Biden has transformed the entire federal government into a DEI cult—putting equity czars inside virtually every single agency of the executive branch and subordinating every department to the marxist equity agenda. Every previous law and regulation must now be reinterpreted to ensure racial and gender equity: in other words, to achieve a predetermined racial or gender identity outcome even if it requires ruthless discrimination against American citizens.
The Department of Defense is one of the approximate 22 specified departments and agencies directed to implement this EO. The “DEI” (diversity, equity, & inclusion) initiative is a deliberate effort to force compliance with a clear political social engineering agenda that is antithetical to military core values, and in a very substantial way, the 1964 civil rights act itself.
The hypocrisy is self-evident, and it is therefore incumbent upon you as the existing overseer of this sacred institution, to remain apolitical; to protect those values; and to ensure that men and women from all walks have equal opportunity to serve, advance, and lead. However, those opportunities must be based on skills and abilities, not on their race, gender, or identity group.
The traditional CRT/DEI ideology places people into just such groups, the oppressed vs the oppressors. This is the opposite of the long standing traditional focus of our military which is on unity, “one team one fight”, and not on sub-group identities.
Our military is one of, if not the most, inclusive and diverse institutions in the federal government; one where service members are not judged/evaluated on the color of their skin, but rather by their character, job performance, and ability to function on a team. The best of them are promoted into leadership positions based on those merits, nothing else.
In short, a merit based system commonly referred to as a meritocracy. Yet that simple concept has now come under fire, and incorrectly labeled “racist” by a faction of society that has more likely than not never served in uniform.
The social engineers promoting this divisive agenda likely have no concept of actual military life and the necessity for team cohesion when on mission, for it is as foreign to them as being on the field in a professional sports event–yet nobody questions the logic of putting the best players on the field in the latter. The best team wins.
If winning wars is indeed important to the citizens of our country, they will want our military services to follow the same playbook as the NBA and NFL. Play the best.
Meritocracy is essential for winning. In the NBA and the NFL, 70-74% of the players are black. If DEI were applied, ~14% of the players would be black. If meritocracy is essential to win games, why is it not essential to win wars where the consequences of losing are unimaginable?
To insure equity, standards must be lowered to the lowest common denominator. Meritocracy is the building block for readiness as it focuses on unity (not division), teamwork built on trust and confidence in each other which forms cohesive units, ready to perform their wartime missions.
DEI is the opposite of meritocracy; it is divisive and lowers standards to achieve equal outcomes which is what we see happening in our failing national civilian education system.
We close with the question asked above. If meritocracy is essential for pro sports teams to win, why is it not essential in our military (as it has been until now) to attain the readiness needed to fight and win our Nation’s wars?
We all want the same goal: that is, the world’s best fighting force, with prejudice towards none. The future of our country depends on it.
Ronald J. Scott, Jr., Ph.D.
Colonel, USAF, Retired
President & CEO
Robert D. Bishop, Jr.
Lieutenant General, USAF, Retired
Chairman of the Board
Joseph W. Arbuckle
Major General, USA, Retired
Vice Chairman of the Board
William Dean Lee
Vice Admiral, USCG, Retired
PDF of Letter: STARRS Open Letter to SECDEF Austin
Leave a Comment