Posted on July 28, 2023

General Tapped for Space Command Chief Declines to Endorse DEI Policies

Bill Gertz, Washington Times, July 27, 2023

The three-star general nominated to head the U.S. Space Command declined to endorse the Biden administration’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies in the military at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Space Force Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, whom President Biden nominated this month to be the force’s second commander, also defended his firing of an officer who went public with criticisms of the Pentagon leadership’s campaign to impose diversity in the military, calling it Marxist ideological subversion.

In an exchange at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination with Sen. Eric Schmitt, Gen. Whiting repeatedly declined to say he endorses DEI policies in the military.

“Senator, I support a ready lethal force that draws from the best talent all across America,” Gen. Whiting replied.

Mr. Schmitt said that was not his question and pressed the general to state whether he backs DEI, which he described as “rooted in cultural Marxism.”

Gen. Whiting said he supports a “merit-based approach” to finding the best people for military service.

“That’s not what DEI is either,” Mr. Schmitt countered.

The Republican lawmaker also pressed the nominee about statements by Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, whom Mr. Biden tapped to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Brown told the publication Defense News in February that “there is still a lot to do” in promoting DEI and gender and racial equality initiatives in the armed services, which he said were dealing with a “cultural shift.”

Asked whether Gen. Brown should be relieved of command for the remarks, Gen. Whiting said no.


The conservative group American Accountability Foundation earlier this month filed a complaint with the Pentagon inspector general regarding Gen. Brown, alleging that comments by the general, currently Air Force chief of staff, suggest he is racially biased.


Mr. Schmitt in the hearing also quoted statements by current Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley on his support for DEI. The chairman has said diversity is needed “to improve the system, improve the military, improve our problem-solving capabilities and improve our war-fighting readiness,” according to the senator.

Gen. Whiting also said he did not believe Gen. Milley should be relieved of command for those comments.

Sen. Schmitt then raised the case of now-retired Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, whom Gen. Whiting relieved of duty in May 2021. Gen. Whiting said he acted because Col. Lohmeier criticized DEI training in the military as “rooted in Marxism” during an appearance on a conservative podcast while on active duty. He continued to air his criticisms after being ordered not to do so, officials said.


Col. Lohmeier said the general’s testimony at the hearing “clearly demonstrated that Whiting himself was unwilling to affirm his support for the [Defense Department’s] DEI initiatives and trainings.”