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Pentagon offering ‘diversity, equity, inclusion’ courses to service members

A photo of military boots during the deployment ceremony for the Alabama Army National Guard 128th Military Police Company leaving for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bob Gathany/HVT/TNS)
May 28, 2021

The Department of Defense and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) both confirmed Thursday that service members and civilians are offered a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” course among an array of professional development courses.

According to Fox News, the course on “diversity, equity and inclusion” reportedly involved discussions on anti-racism and White supremacy, in addition to lessons on “bias” and “systemic disparities.” It was first revealed to be offered in JSOC, but later confirmed to be offered to all military and civilian personnel.

Department of Defense spokesperson Lisa Lawrence told the news outlet that the courses were available, but no service members were “encouraged” to take specific classes.   

“The Department of Defense regularly offers non-mandatory, professional development courses to the workforce. The courses offered by the Department for professional development are not unique to JSOC or U.S. Special Operations Command,” Lawrence said.

“The training that was shared by JSOC’s Civilian Training Office to JSOC personnel included information related to a wide variety of non-mandatory, professional education courses from April to November,” she continued. “The specific course reference was one of 17 free courses being offered and happened to be the next course offered in May.”

Ken McGraw, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) public affairs officer, also told Fox that the courses were offered to military personnel. McGraw said that the DOD “regularly notifies its employees of a wide variety of non-mandatory, professional education opportunities.”

“These courses are not unique to U.S. Special Operations Command or any USSOCOM subordinate command,” McGraw said. “In this instance, JSOC notified their civilian and military personnel that DOD was offering 17 free, professional-development courses online, one of which is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

“Employees can decide whether they want to attend any courses or not, to include how many courses and on what subjects,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Army came under fire after it released a new series of recruitment advertisements titled “The Calling,” including one featuring an LGBT rights parade and lesbian wedding.

The advertisement became the subject of criticism on Twitter, with one user pointing out its similarities with the recent “woke” Central Intelligence Agency recruitment advertisements.

“Wow. First it was the woke CIA ad, now it is a super-woke woke animated army recruitment ad featuring a lesbian wedding, an LGBT rights parade and women “shattering stereotypes” by joining the world’s largest killing machine,” Mint Press News staff writer Alan MacLeod tweeted.

Also in May, the CIA continued its own series of “woke” recruitment ads, with two videos featuring a man who “[grew] up gay in a small Southern town” and a blind employee who talks about the agency’s push to “create a more inclusive environment.” The ads have been criticized for lacking any information about job qualifications or what the agency’s various jobs entail.

And in March, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced the hiring of its first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer.