By Bill Smith
Parent of a US Air Force Academy Cadet
[This author’s name has been changed to a pseudonym to protect the author’s privacy]
When my son told me he wanted to join the U.S. Air Force as an officer to protect the rights and freedoms we have as Americans, as well as fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot, I could not have been more proud. He has taken an oath and has made a commitment to protect the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
I did not realize that one of the major threats to U.S. national security would be of domestic origin.
But the onslaught of woke principles and diversity, equity, and inclusion ideology, which are being taught and executed by leaders in the military services, has confirmed as much.
I grew up with a retired Master Sergeant World War II veteran as a father, and a mother who survived the horrors of life in Nazi Germany until she met my father and returned to the United States with him. When my father retired from the Army, I remember him telling me and my siblings many heroic stories of World War II, where he and his team worked to defeat the enemies that threatened our American way of life.
My father told me the men and women he worked with all wanted to achieve one mission: defeat the enemy and protect democracy. He did not see race, sex, or ethnic background in the people he worked with; he saw fellow soldiers working towards one common goal.
I will always remember that his time in the military was mission-driven. He aimed to protect the American people and the values on which our nation was founded.
When I graduated from college, my first job was working for the Defense Investigative Service, an agency of the Defense Department. As a special agent, my job was to conduct background investigations on individuals who were potentially going to be trusted with security clearances.
Our mission was to protect the country’s secrets by making sure the people who had access to information were loyal to the U.S. The men and women I worked with came from all backgrounds, sexes, ethnic groups, and experiences.
We all had one thing in common: we wanted to protect the United States and its classified information.
Today, with the implementation of DEI and other “woke” policies in the military, members of the military do not have a unifying goal.
And if they do have one, it might be something as ridiculous as learning how to lead people using different pronouns.
Or, it could be making sure that all ethnic groups, sexes, or people of different backgrounds are equally represented regardless of their ability to do a job.
These leftist initiatives weaken the military and its mission.
The bottom line is that today’s military is more focused on how to divide this nation internally than on how to unite us around its defense.
During his time at the Air Force Academy, my son has had to attend training and briefings regarding DEI and other divisive policies. He and his fellow cadets walked out of those briefings feeling very uncomfortable, knowing that what they were told was hurting the military, creating conflicts among each other, and destroying the concept of building one cohesive fighting unit.
I explained to my son that the only way to change these DEI teachings and woke policies is to make change from within. One day, he will become a leader and have a tremendous impact on his fellow airmen by remembering the things that unite a team and the military’s mission: to protect the U.S. from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The military’s role is to recruit and train warfighters, to protect the United States, its citizens, and the ideals on which our nation was founded.
It is not a political organization or a social experiment to teach DEI and woke policies.
Military members need to focus on the goal of protecting the U.S. and understand that promotions and rank are achieved by doing your job well — not by color, sex, or ethnic background.
Reorienting the military toward these principles will be vital in the days ahead.
China’s Xi Jinping has advised his military to be prepared for large-scale conflict against the United States by 2027, just two years after my son will graduate and commission as an officer.
We need a strong, united military to take on this threat to democracy worldwide, just as my father did more than years ago against the Axis Forces.
As a parent of a military service member, I hope the social experiments being conducted in the military will be replaced by a focus on one mission-driven goal: to recruit and build warfighters to protect the U.S., its people, and its values.
Bill Smith is the father of a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet.