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Pentagon mocked by vets on Twitter for declaring diversity, equity a ‘necessity’ to US military

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III briefs the media on Afghanistan, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Aug. 18, 2021. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
February 10, 2022

The Pentagon is getting backlash from veterans and other users on Twitter after it tweeted on Wednesday declaring diversity, equity and inclusion to be “necessities” to its mission.

“NEWS: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Are Necessities in U.S. Military,” the Department of Defense Twitter count said.

The DoD tweet linked to an article summarizing comments by Bishop Garrison, the Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense on Human Capital and Diversity, Equity.

In the article, Garrison said that fewer Americans between the age of 18 and 24 years qualify for military service, and as such “We have to find out ways of getting to a broader talent pool and broader interest groups in order to bring those highly qualified, talented individuals in.”

Garrison also said the percentage of minorities in the military drops as they rise up the ranks. “We need to take a very data-driven approach to get a better understanding as to what’s actually happening here. What is the problem? And how can we address it?”

Garrison concluded by saying diversity is “not just something that has to be done because of some type of cultural ideology or culture wars that are going on — that’s not the case at all. It is, again, not diversity for diversity’s sake.”

Garrison’s role as the defense secretary’s senior diversity, equity and inclusion advisor is a new position at the DoD created last year.

Garrison has caught criticism in the past, including earlier this week from Marine veteran Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who noted Garrison had previously publicly tweeted that support for former President Donald Trump is support for extremism and racism.

Social media users criticized the Pentagon and Garrison’s latest remarks on what it called “necessities” for the military.

Army infantry veteran and former Republican Pennsylvania congressional candidate Sean Parnell tweeted, “Maybe the ability to win wars should be the only necessity in the US Military.”

“The Pentagon hasn’t won a war in 22 years,” retired Army infantry colonel and conservative commentator Kurt Schlicter tweeted.

Chuck DeVore, a retired Army intelligence officer Federalist contributor Chuck DeVore tweeted, “Odd, most of us Americans only care that you’re able to defend the Constitution and win our wars. All else is a secondary consideration.”

Conservative national security analyst John Noonan said, “Diversity is fine. Obsessing over it to the point where you start losing the plot is not. Many practices the Biden DoD has adopted in the name DEI are the same controversial things that saw parents revolt against school boards. Taxpayers have a right to demand a focused military.”

“DoD is made of GREAT individuals, but as an organization it’s a woke piece of garbage,” one Tweeter said. “The focus on platitudes that ultimately contribution nothing to mission needs to stop across the government. DEI does not serve to unite, it reverts everyone back into tribal thinking.”

“I’m sure Gen. Patton and Gen. Washington would have agreed with this,” one user tweeted with an eye-roll emoji.