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Posted on May 18, 2022 Print this Article

Issue 68: May 2022

This edition of CMR E-Notes spotlights an important issue that we have been following for a long time.  Ever since the Obama Administration decided to assign women to formerly all-male direct ground combat units such as the infantry, the Army has not been able to deliver on repeated promises that women would be held to the same “gender-neutral” standards as men.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a respected member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently confronted Christine Wormuth, the first female Secretary of the Army, on three years of failures with the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)

You will enjoy watching Sen. Cotton in action during this six-minute video:

CMR analyzed this subject in depth last month and drew attention to the story in an op-ed published in The Federalist:   Cotton: U.S. Army’s Lower Standards for Women Will ‘Get People Killed’  

We are in touch with Sen. Cotton and other members of Congress, encouraging them to question and hold accountable all high-level Pentagon officials who favor social engineering in the military.  For starters, the Senate should refuse confirmation of three Defense Department nominees (see below) whose progressive views will weaken our military even more than it is today.

Voters also should ask candidates for federal office in 2022 what their opinions are on “woke” policies in the military.  All members of Congress, and the next President, need to be informed and ready to restore sound priorities.


A.  Army Cannot Deliver on Promises of Sex-Neutral Standards in Combat Arms

In December 2015, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and all military leaders solemnly promised that women would not be assigned to close combat units unless they met the same gender-neutral standards and scoring systems as men.  Some people were inclined to wait and see what would happen, and now the results are in.

Gender-neutral standards in training for combat arms units such as the infantry simply do not work.  After the liberal RAND Corporation reported persistently high failure rates among women on a new Combat Fitness Test, the Army capitulated and fell back on standards that are gender-normed, meaning different for men and women.

The entire social experiment with women in combat has been built on egalitarian theories and beliefs that women could be trained to be interchangeable with men in the combat arms.  Those theories, however, are crumbling under the weight of inconvenient realities, such as the persistently high failure rates for female Army trainees in combat training.

This article summarizes the chronology of the Army’s failed attempts to deliver on their promises of sex-neutrality in training related to the combat arms:

This 9-page CMR Policy Analysis provides more details and links to relevant documents that are important for the historic record: 

The CMR Policy Analysis also includes suggestions for correcting persistent problems, based on lessons learned.  To restore sound priorities, policy makers should:

  • Hold Pentagon officials and social engineers accountable for fiascos like the ACFT.
  • Abolish Pentagon Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity mandates and offices that promote percentage-based quotas instead of non-discrimination and recognition of merit.
  • Re-Evaluate female assignments in direct ground combat units such as the infantry, to include consequences of disproportionately higher rates of injuries, attrition, and non-deployability.
  • Conduct hearings with independent witnesses -- not just Defense Department and military officials who defend their own policy decisions.
  • Talk to personnel on military bases, giving them permission to speak candidly about social changes in the military, both negative and positive, provided they have a rationale.

Finally, elected officials should lay the groundwork for eliminating policies that force the military to deploy marginally qualified personnel who are less strong, less deployable, and more likely to be injured during combat missions.

Senator Cotton’s colloquy with Army Secretary Wormuth showed how the first suggestion can and should be accomplished, but much remains to be done.

B.  Senate Should Reject Nominations of Three High-Level Pentagon “Woke” Appointees

“Diversity, inclusion, and equity” (DIE) mandates, which are assigned higher priority than non-discrimination, meritocracy, and military readiness, are leading directly to serious social issue controversies in the military.  It will take a new Congress and President to undo the damage.  Members of the Senate should take extra care in performing their “advise and consent” role in evaluating all high-level Defense Department appointees

In particular, three pending nominations are especially inappropriate and should be defeated:

  • Ravi Chaudhary, nominated to be Asst. Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and the Environment, drew many questions at his confirmation hearing inquiring about an article advocating for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to surveil American military personnel.
  • Franklin R. Parker, nominated to be Asst. Secretary of the Navy for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, would have authority over social policies in the Marine Corps as well as the Navy.  Parker is a former Obama appointee with a long record of woke activism, including a “Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap” establishing new diversity offices the “Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) title that he would hold himself if confirmed.
  • Agnes Gereben Schaefer, nominated to be Asst. Secretary of the Army for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, has co-authored several RAND reports supporting extreme social policies favored by the Department of Defense during Democratic Administrations.  Former Defense Secretary James Mattis criticized one of these RAND reports on the issue of transgenders in the military.  If confirmed, Schaefer likely would advocate for the current gender-normed Army Combat Fitness Test, which features low standards that Sen. Cotton described as “pathetic.”

The Biden Administration gets to nominate Department of Defense officials, but the Senate has a serious responsibility for advice and consent.  The testimony of Christine Wormuth on May 5 emphasizes the importance of evaluating nominees whose policies will directly affect military readiness and the morale of men and women in the military.  Those who are known to be diversity and woke ideologues should not be confirmed.

C.  National Survey Shows Sharp Decline in Trust and Confidence in U.S. Military

Last November the Ronald Reagan Institute conducted its Reagan National Defense Survey, which reported several findings of concern.  For the first time, the Reagan Survey found that a minority of Americans—only 45%—report having a great deal of trust and confidence in the military.  Quoting from the report, this finding is down 25 points in the last three years:

“Trust and confidence in the military is down across the major demographic subgroups, including age, gender, and party identification.  Since 2018, those reporting the highest level of confidence in the military have fallen among Republicans by 34 points to 53%, Democrats by 17 points to 42%, and Independents by 28 points to 38%

“Confidence is declining among all age groups as well, down 25 points among those over 65, by 26 points among those ages 45- 64, and 28 points among those 30-44.

“Perhaps most troubling for recruitment in the all-volunteer force is that only a third (33%) of adults younger than 30 have high confidence in the military, which is down 20 points since 2018.  Confidence is lower among young Americans than any other demographic subgroup, including ideological, religious, ethnic, economic, or geographic region. 

“While the military continues to top the list of trusted institutions, the trend of declining trust is occurring more rapidly for the military than it is for other public institutions.” (pp. 4-5)

A new question in the Reagan Survey inquired about reasons for levels of confidence in the military.  High confidence reflected admiration for servicemembers (29%), protection of the nation (15%) and military capabilities (11%).

Those with little or not much confidence in the military faulted political leadership (13%), servicemembers and scandals, both at 9%, and military capabilities, equipment, weapons, or technology (11%).

The lack of confidence numbers, combined with less support for the military among younger respondents, are warning signs for the All-Volunteer Force.  With almost a third of respondents expressing concerns about leadership and the impact of social turmoil, the message is clear.

Rebuilding our military will take more than higher budgets and more weapons.  It will take steps to restore the culture of the military, which has been eroded by several years social engineering and woke policies.

The next President and members of Congress must address military/social issues if they truly support our military and intend to make it stronger.

D. Articles of Interest

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Posted on May 18, 2022 Print this Article