In a letter sent Tuesday to the Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., expressed his concerns over the military branch’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) plan for 2023.
Gaetz’s letter, obtained by The Gateway Pundit, questions the value of the DEIA plan and fuels the ongoing debate about the role it plays in the activities of the U.S. military. Gaetz argues the DEIA initiatives changes the U.S. military’s main mission from prioritizing national security to worrying more about social justice issues.
The Florida congressman wrote, “my constituents have voiced concerns that the DAF has placed an overemphasis on DEI initiatives through numerous policy memos that neglect to mention or prioritize the DAF’s core purpose for existence: preserving national security.”
Kendall said in a statement that the success of the Air Force “depends on recruiting and retaining the best talent” and the Air Force’s emphasis on “diversity and inclusion efforts are informed by science, business best practices, congressional mandates, data-focused policy reviews and assessments, and the lived experiences of Airmen and Guardians working together every day.”
Kendall defends the policy, citing the experience of veterans and empirical facts, but avoids Gaetz’s main concerns about the DEIA plan presented in his letter to Kendall. In his letter, Gaetz specifically says to Kendall that his constituents “have voiced concerns that the [Air Force] has placed an overemphasis on DEI initiatives.”
Part of Gaetz’s worries with the Air Force’s DEIA initiatives is the plan is becoming too complicated to understand, even by high-ranking Air Force officials.
In July, Gaetz pointed out Air Force academies are promoting scholarship programs for people who are “a cisgender woman, a transgender woman, a non-binary, agender, two-spirit demi-gender,” and asked Lieutenant General Richard Clark, who was testifying before Congress what the term demi-gender means.
Clark stumbled before answering that when someone is demi-gender, it means they are “eligible for that particular scholarship..that someone who looks at their gender in a different way.”
Later in his testimony, Clark admitted he was not entirely sure what the term meant, even though someone who identifies as a demi-gender would be protected by DEIA.