Woke-ism ‘Not a Factor’ in the Marine Corps, Commandant Says
“I don’t see it. I don’t hear it. They’re not talking about it,” Gen. David Berger said at the Reagan National Defense Forum.
Half of Americans believe “woke practices” are “undermining military effectiveness,” according to a recent survey, a belief shared by at least several Republican lawmakers. But the commandant of the Marine Corps says it’s not true, at least not among his troops.
“I don’t see it. I don’t hear it. They’re not talking about it. It’s not a factor for them at all,” Berger said during a panel discussion Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “I don’t see a conversation or an impact of woke-ism in the rank and file, at all.”
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., said he has heard differently.
“You can debate the value of [diversity, equity, and inclusion] programs, you can debate whether they contribute to lethality, but I don’t think it’s debatable that it is a problem. It is happening. There are hundreds of examples of this happening in the military, and I am hearing it. I’m hearing it from constituents who are on active duty, who have families in the military. So reasonable people can debate the value of the growing DEI bureaucracy, but there is no question that it is growing in the military, and that Americans are concerned about it,” Gallagher said during the same panel.
Last month, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, both Republicans, in November released an 18-page pamphlet that advanced claims that Biden administration policies are “weakening America’s warfighters” with wokeness.
Lawmakers have also blamed the Army’s recruiting struggles on woke-ism, a charge that the service’s top recruiting leader has dismissed.
Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros said the Pentagon’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies are “providing opportunity.”
“We want to have diversity of geography, diversity of thought,” said Cisneros, who spoke on the same panel as Berger.
Woke is a slang term that was used mainly in the Black community to indicate awareness and understanding of racial and social injustice and inequality, before it was co-opted by conservatives as a pejorative.