During his confirmation hearings, Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) nominee Lloyd Austin said that he would make it his priority to combat racism and extremism in the US military. He has been true to his word. On February 5, 2021, he directed unit commanders and supervisors at all levels to conduct a leadership “stand down” to address the issues of extremist ideology in the Department of Defense. Stand-down training materials to guide the process were subsequently released on February 26. Here are a couple of noteworthy excerpts (emphasis added):
The vast majority of the men and women in the United States military and those who serve the Department of Defense as civilian employees perform their duties and responsibilities with integrity, and do not support racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists, including white supremacists, and other domestic terrorists such as anti-government violent extremists.
DoD policy expressly prohibits Service members from actively advocating supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology and causes.
Service members must reject active participation in organizations that advance supremacist or extremist ideology, which includes those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin, or those that advance, encourage, or advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity or otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.
Interesting that the discussion about “supremacists” and “extremists” in the training materials makes no generic mention of groups actively seeking to overthrow the US Constitution and US institutions – in short, those who are truly the kinds of “domestic enemies” (and terrorists) alluded to in the sworn oaths that all service members have taken. In case there was any doubt as to the intended targets of the DoD purge of “extremism” in the ranks, the training materials included four case studies as examples: Paramilitary Activity, Domestic Extremism, Organizing and Recruiting, and Racist and Supremacist Statements. All four cases were about neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists, and/or Nazis.
In explaining the stand-down, Austin himself has disseminated a video to DoD members on the subject of “extremism” and stated that he had personally “seen and lived through these attitudes before, both as a soldier and a commander.” To whom and toward what objective was Austin addressing his comments, given his own “direct experience” with extremism in the military? A logical conclusion from the above training materials and his own statements is that the primary focus is on “white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis,” with zero attention being given to the violent left-wing groups like the Marxist-founded Black Lives Matter and Antifa (in a recent poll, 71% agreed that Antifa is a domestic terrorist group!). I would further argue that, based on the below personal anecdote about Cadet Austin at West Point during the early 1970s, his own personal biases are clear:
Lloyd Austin and I were in the same company at West Point. He was an ingrate and a racist then, and the leopard hasn’t changed his spots today! I will give one example: In our company, which was all male in those days, some classes [each cadet company is comprised of all year-groups, freshman through senior class] had a tradition that if somebody had a birthday, he would be rolled up into his mattress, taken down to the communal latrine, and thrown in the shower, mattress and all. It was a standard “rite of passage” for everyone in that class. One day, it was a Black cadet’s turn to get soaked. The guy was a straight shooter – a generally great guy who went along with the fun. Everybody involved laughed about it afterward, and had a good time of it, as it was harmless fun and the type of pranks that went on regularly in those days. When Austin, who was the Cadet Company Commander at the time, became aware of it, he started yelling and called the Black cadet into his office, making a big deal of it. When the cadet told him that it was nothing but fun, Austin told him (according to the cadet afterward) that “he was just a stupid n—–, and if he couldn’t recognize a racial incident when he was a victim, then he was just stupid, blah, blah, blah.” Austin insisted that everyone involved would get “slugged”, i.e., would be administered punishment tours, walking in full dress uniform for multiple hours on Saturdays for several weekends as punishment because of this “racial incident.” Of course, Austin was one of the Black cadets who wore the nylons on his head at night to press down his Afro, so that when he went out on weekends, he could rake out his hair so as to pass as a civilian in town. He has milked the system for all it was worth…and is apparently still at it today.
Even in those days, the system was showing signs of wokeness in how that incident was handled – instead of how it SHOULD have been handled! It makes one wonder how that episode may have helped harden Austin’s deep-seated attitudes that have ultimately led to the implementation of the ongoing DoD “anti-extremism” stand-down. And was that anecdote one of the personal examples of “the extremist attitudes that he lived through,” as he stated in the video linked above?
Regardless of the express purpose for the stand-down, the inevitable result will be increased divisiveness and distrust, lowered morale, and decreased military readiness and mission effectiveness. And it is a political purge that is being disguised as “training” with the below speculation the likely intended result:
Rural, white, conservative, and Christian American men make up the bulk of America’s warrior class. They predominate in dangerous combat units, and intergenerational traditions of service are common. In spite of these traditions, the message from the culture, as well as political leaders, to such people is plain: Your day is done. You will be second-class citizens. And you are suspect.
What will happen to the American military if this warrior class chooses not to serve a political regime that labels them obstacles to the goals of equity and inclusion? What will motivate them if such service becomes morally ambiguous and less supported within their own communities?
The SECDEF’s stand-down that has been trumpeted by the legacy media as “visionary” is of-a-piece with the goals and objectives of Marxist “critical race theory” and, indeed, apparently those of the Biden-Harris regime. How could it be otherwise? The measure for success in such endeavors ultimately is a statistic, i.e., the number of personnel who attended this stand-down training, which cannot be translated into an objective measurement that increases sustainability, readiness, and warfighting capability across DoD. The imputed focus on race in this anti-extremism training is a disaster in the making, as nowhere does the specific racial demographic of a combat unit determine lethality, cohesiveness, or effectiveness. Good order, military discipline, and trust in teammates is what drives combat effectiveness and military readiness. The real statistics will become the mid-grade enlisted and officers who resign from the military services or decline promotions and command tours in order to avoid the malarkey. Those days are coming fast.
Could that be what Lloyd Austin has wished to achieve since he was a cadet at West Point? The purging and remaking of the military as he envisions it? Has he had the proverbial “chip on his shoulder” throughout his entire career waiting to act upon it when he was finally in a position to do so? You decide.