Two House Republican leaders are demanding answers from the West Point superintendent on a role-play exercise in which cadets were forced to participate focused on “understanding and respecting the pronouns people prefer.”
House Armed Services Military Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Mike Waltz (FL) and Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Jim Banks (IN) said the role-play exercise centered around “misidentifying gender-neutral pronouns.”
In a letter to Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland, they wrote:
We recently obtained a document for training exercises during a ‘Dean’s Weekend’ at West Point that we feel disrupts and distracts from the education and training that is needed to shape our future military leaders. We also understand that these training courses were mandatory for all cadets, led by cadets, and supervised by faculty.
As Chairmen of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, we are concerned these kinds of exercises distract from the core mission of West Point in developing future wartime officers and further erodes trust in our military with politicized, social trainings.
We feel an exercise of this nature is problematic, dismissive of mainstream viewpoints, and unnecessarily creates conflict between cadets with opposing cultural views, all of which negatively affects unit cohesion. Moreover, this exercise represents yet another instance of West Point leadership implementing policies and directives that encourage cadets to focus on their differences rather than subordinate them to collectively accomplish the overall mission and purpose. The first is the antithesis of a team, the latter is the essence of a team.
Waltz and Banks said they have heard concerns from cadets uncomfortable with the politicized nature of the sessions, and other activities that have taken place at West Point.
“Over the last two years we’ve seen a disturbing trend taking place at our military academies that puts politics over service,” said Waltz, an Army National Guard Green Beret colonel in a statement. He added:
We have an obligation to ensure military academies such as West Point are prioritizing the education and training of future military officers rather than implementing the political priorities of the Biden Administration. Every minute our soldiers spend in sensitivity training is a minute they could be at the rifle range. Chinese and Russian soldiers certainly won’t be focused on what pronoun a U.S. soldier uses.
Banks said in a statement:
This exemplifies how divisive and radical left wing ideologies are creeping into our service academies and edging out consensus and reasonable goals. Chairman Waltz and I will continue to hold accountable partisan officials who are poisoning our military with wokeness.
They also requested from Gilland information about compensation for a 2021 guest lecture at West Point by Dr. Carol Anderson on “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage,” and inquired whether Critical Race Theory is still included in a course syllabus, as was previously confirmed by the last West Point Superintendent, Gen. Darryl Williams.
They also asked how many employees work in West Point’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality Opportunity, and how much West Point budgets for the office.
On Thursday, Banks is scheduled to hold a hearing on the impact of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policies, Procedures, and Trainings within the Department of Defense.
The witnesses will include Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Agnes Schaefer, the Navy’s Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Franklin R. Parker, and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Alex Wagner.
The hearing will be streamed live at 3:00 p.m. ET.
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