“The intent is to reinforce the [Pentagon’s] policies and values with respect to this sort of behavior and to have a dialogue with the men and women of the force and to get their views on what they are seeing at their level.”
A few short weeks ago, the media was abuzz that Lloyd Austin, a retired Army four-star general, had been appointed to run the Defense Department, a historic move giving the military its first black defense secretary.
Now, in perhaps the most chilling move yet from the new administration, the newly minted Defense Secretary plans to direct a military-wide stand down, reportedly to address “extremism” within the ranks.
Austin wants all military units to take an operational pause to discuss extremism as he works to grasp the full scope of the issue and better address the longstanding problem, John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, told reporters Wednesday. The pauses are expected to occur within the next 60 days, but Austin has yet to determine how the stand downs are to be completed, Kirby said.
“The intent is to reinforce the [Pentagon’s] policies and values with respect to this sort of behavior and to have a dialogue with the men and women of the force and to get their views on what they are seeing at their level,” Kirby said. “He wants commands to take the necessary time to … speak with troops about the scope of this problem. It’s a two-way conversation.”
Austin spoke frankly with the acting service secretaries and uniformed service chiefs about his concerns about extremism in the military, including white supremacism, said Kirby, who attended the meeting. The new defense secretary, who is the first Black leader of the Defense Department, wants the service leaders to better grasp how pervasive the issue is within their formations and work with leaders to stamp it out, Kirby said.
We have gone in a few short months from President Donald Trump preventing “critical race theory” dogma from being imposed on federal employees to the possibility that the armed services will have to apologize for their privilege.
The stand-down will occur over the next 60 days.
This is so “each service, each command and each unit can take the time out to have these needed discussions with the men and women of the force,” he said.
There is much that needs to be hammered out including the details of the training that will go along with the stand down and what the secretary and all in the military want to accomplish. The stand down is similar to safety stand downs that units may have, Kirby said.
Perhaps they will try and figure out ways to identify Trump supporters, especially any of those who may have concerns about election fraud.
Meanwhile, other countries are not diverting military efforts by enforcing social justice policies. Last week, warplanes from the United States and China flew in proximity. A Chinese military drill was announced as an American aircraft carrier group entered the contested South China Sea.
A US Navy EP-3E and a Chinese Y-8G, both electronic intelligence aircraft, flew in direct parallel near southern Taiwan on Tuesday, according to aviation tracker Aircraft Spots.
Also on Tuesday, China’s maritime authority announced that a military exercise would take place in waters west of Leizhou Peninsula in the southern province of Guangdong from Wednesday until Saturday.
I suspect these nations will benefit more from the stand down than our country and the men and women serving in our armed forces.
When the mission of the military becomes politicized it doesn’t end well. “Military-wide stand-down” announcement to the world. Just tell the Russians, Chinese & North Korea we surrender. https://t.co/Zr2rvgJSV9
— Michael S. Miller (@imichaelsmiller) February 4, 2021
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