(CNS News) – When asked about how the army plans on addressing the concerns of its soldiers while dealing with ongoing recruitment struggles, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth emphasized the importance of “positive command climates and inclusion,” and rebuked accusations that the Army is becoming “woke.”
At an Oct. 10 press conference, “Army Readiness and Modernization,” Secretary Wormuth was asked about the Army’s recent rebuke of General Pat Donahoe for his political tweets:
“What would you say to the women in the Army, soldiers of color, who saw this response to Pat Donahoe, and thought, ‘the army’s not gonna’ have my back anymore, no one’s coming to my defense,’ when these very volatile political figures come after them and question their service and their belonging?”
Wormuth replied, “Yeah, I mean, I certainly do not want soldiers, you know, whether it’s women or whether it’s soldiers from, you know, other communities, to feel alienated. And I think, you know, we always want to have the backs of our soldiers.”
In Wormuth’s view, the proper way for soldiers to conduct themselves on social media while avoiding controversy depends on the tone of the post and its audience.
“I think there is absolutely a way to stand up for our soldiers and have their back,” she said. “But again, I think the key really is tone, and kind of, you know, looking at your audience.”
“And one more thing, Haley, I would emphasize,” Wormuth told the reporter, “is I think, more broadly, in terms of soldiers coming from marginalized communities, or, you know, demographics that are not widely represented in the army, that’s part of why we’ve got to emphasize positive command climates and inclusion.”
Wormuth then addressed ongoing public allegations that so-called “Wokeness” has interfered with the military’s ability to fulfill its duty to defend the United States, asserting her doubt about such concerns.
“You know, we get criticized, frankly, sometimes, for being woke,” said the secretary. “I’m not sure what woke means, I think woke means a lot of different things to different people. But first of all I would, if woke means, you know, we are not focused on war fighting, we are not focused on readiness, that doesn’t reflect what I see at installations all around the country or overseas when I go and visit.”
“But I think we do have a wide range of soldiers in our army, and we’ve got to make them all feel included, and that’s why a lot of our diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are important,” concluded Wormuth.
In March 2021, Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson offered criticisms of the military’s readiness due to various policies making the armed forces “more feminine.” Carlson criticized changes such as the Air Force’s development of “maternity flight suits” for pregnant fighter pilots.
In response, Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe posted to Twitter a video of him re-enlisting a female soldier with the following caption:
“This is me, yesterday, conducting a re-enlistment for one of the tens of thousands of women who serve in our Army. Just a reminder that @TuckerCarlson couldn’t be more wrong.”
This is me, yesterday, conducting a re-enlistment for one of the tens of thousands of women who serve in our Army. Just a reminder that @TuckerCarlson couldnt be more wrong. https://t.co/M1MHe5zHrf— Patrick Donahoe (@PatDonahoeArmy) March 11, 2021
A recent Army investigation found that Donahoe’s tweet “brought a measurable amount of negative publicity to the Army.” Moving forward, a spokeswoman for the Army, Cynthia Smith, said “the Army expects all soldiers to appropriately use social media to communicate, to demonstrate professionalism at all times, and to treat people with dignity and respect.”
During the press conference, Secretary Wormuth stated that among the things that she believes are “most important,” are “keeping the Army apolitical and keeping it out of the culture wars.”
Some members of the military took issue with the investigator’s conclusions about General Donahoe’s comments. One noncommissioned officer told Military.com that “this whole thing showed women that we are not worth defending.”
As CNS News has reported, the U.S. Army is facing all-time recruitment struggles, failing to meet its recruitment goal by 25% or 15,000 soldiers this year.