Sen. Cotton grills Defense Secretary Austin in testy exchange over ‘woke’ military

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was grilled by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday over a so-called ‘woke’ military.  

“Do you believe that any member of the military should be treated differently based on their skin color and sex? Again yes or no will do,” Cotton asked during the hearing. “No, I do not believe that and that is why we have diversity equity and inclusion focus in the military,” Austin responded. 


The Arkansas senator and former Army infantry officer said he and Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL, had received “several hundred” messages from irate service members complaining the Pentagon’s ‘extremism and diversity’ training is dividing the forces and taking time away from critical training for war.

“One Marine told us that a military history training session was replaced with mandatory training on police brutality, White privilege and systemic racism,” Cotton said, adding that several officers from that Marine Corps unit “are now leaving” the military as a result of the training.

“A member of the Special Operations community has told us that they are being instructed that, ‘The U.S. special operations community is racist,’” Cotton added.

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