Space Force commander’s career in jeopardy after controversial comments made on podcast

The military career of a Buckley Space Force Base commander remains in limbo after comments he made on a podcast last month got him in hot water.

Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was relieved of command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron after promoting his self-published book, which asserts a neoMarxist agenda in the military.

Lohmeier believes the military’s efforts to teach diversity, equity and inclusion are rooted in “critical race theory,” which he says stems from Marxism, and instead of uniting is dividing the military.

Lohmeier, a 2006 Air Force Academy graduate, was removed by Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command commander, because of Lohmeier’s comments on the podcast and “due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead,” according to a statement the Space Force shared with Gazette sister paper, the Washington Examiner.

Whiting initiated a command directed investigation on whether Lohmeier’s comments constituted prohibited partisan political activity, according to a Space Force statement. Much of the discussion and contention surrounding critical race theory comes from the political right.

A spokeswoman for the secretary of the Air Force confirmed last week that Lohmeier remains under investigation and said there is no estimated time when a decision will be reached.

Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 prohibits active-duty personnel from engaging in “partisan political activities.” Lohmeier said he does not believe his comments were partisan politics.

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander who served more than 30 years before retiring in 2000, said he kept his political views to himself during his career but would offer them up in private if a senior officer asked.

“Right now there is no question in my mind that the current administration is yielding to so many liberal forces … that it is putting the military in a tough spot because the military is built on the principle of lethality,” Clark said. “And I’m not sure that diversity and inclusion and equity are all part of that lethality equation.

“I’m really curious to see how the investigation works out. They are going to give him some credit for being sensitive to the issues but they are going to whack him on the head for being so free with his expressions of it.”

However, retired Air Force General Lance Lord, who commanded Air Force Space Command — the predecessor to U.S. Space Force — at Peterson Air Force Base from 2002 to 2006, said, “The military’s sole purpose is to fight and win America’s wars. When an active-duty military individual, especially a senior officer, speaks out about a political issue, the trust our nation places in its apolitical military is seriously undermined.”

During the podcast, Lohmeier talked about his book, Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military, and what he was trying to do with it.

“Everyone needs to be properly educated on what critical race theory is and how it has roots in Marxism,” he contended. “Critical race theory … makes race the lens through which the world is viewed. And that weaponizes race dialogue to cause divisions and contentions hoping that people will get at one another’s necks … and be divided.”

Lohmeier expressed frustration for the diversity, equity and inclusion training going on in the military, saying it is rooted in critical race theory.

“It is intended to be divisive, but we spread it about the military service, pretending it is going to unify everyone,” Lohmeier said.

When asked to recently share talking points from a 70-page booklet addressing extremism in the ranks with his unit, Lohmeier said he wasn’t happy to see it begin with a vignette about the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

“That context painted the entire discussion and all the talking points,” he said. “All of the examples that were given … had to do with, not last year 2020 and the destruction of cities and peoples civil liberties, the talking points had to do with various odd examples of white nationalists that had been caught at some point in the last decade and punished for it and kicked out of the military.

“I don’t accuse people of ill motive because I can’t possibly know people’s motives, although at the moment the diversity and inclusion industry is all about punishing people for their implicit and unconscious biases.

“I refer to the secretary of Defense, his policies, the way he is trying to go about extremism in the book for example. I don’t demonize the man, but I want to make it clear to both him and every service member that if we pursue this agenda, it will divide us, it will not unify us.”

Before his command at Buckley — which was renamed Buckley Space Force Base on Friday — Lohmeier spent a few years at the Air Command and Staff College, earning master’s degrees in military operations and military strategy. It was there he took an interest in Marxism.

“Since coming into command of a unit, I’ve taken even far greater interest in it,” Lohmeier said during the podcast.

This is how Lohmeier describes his book:

“The first part of the book I (try) to describe something that’s beautiful, that’s America’s history and its founding philosophy and I don’t shy away from some of the ugly issues either. But I try and get at why America’s founding philosophy or ideology is great. I don’t think that people can appropriately or properly appreciate how ugly something is, like Marxism or critical race theory, unless they have something to contrast it with.

“I contrast that with part two of the book with Marxist ideology. I spend a good chunk of the book trying to help educate the reader on what Marxist ideology is and where it comes from.”

When asked by the podcast host L Todd Wood what Lohmeier would tell someone new to the military, Lohmeier said, “I think the bottom line … is that if you start to learn what critical race theory is and you get a sense for its rhetoric and its language, start to reject it. Don’t put up with it.”

Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and 23 colleagues sent a letter last month to John Roth, acting secretary of the Air Force and Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for U.S. Space Force at Peterson Air Force Base, asking that Lohmeier be reinstated.

“I am growing increasingly concerned about the proliferation of training and discussions rooted in critical race theory throughout the Department of Defense,” Lamborn said. “This Marxist ideology teaches racial prejudice and collective guilt. The military should focus on our national security threats, not pandering to one political ideology.”

First published in the Colorado Springs Gazette