Former Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier gave this statement at the “The Risks of Progressive Ideologies in the U.S. Military” hearing for the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs on 11 January 2024:
Good morning. My name is Matt Lohmeier and I’m an Air Force Academy graduate, former F-15C fighter pilot, and was a Lieutenant Colonel and commander in the Space Force.
In 2021, I was fired from my command in the Space Force for trying to reverse the trend of the overt politicization of the Uniformed Services.
Specifically, I criticized the military’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) trainings, which, at my own base, were illegally occurring despite an executive order from the commander-in-chief.
I watched these trainings divide our troops ideologically and, in some cases, sow the seeds of animosity towards the very country they had sworn an oath to defend.
I submitted a formal written complaint to the Space Force Inspector General (see Exhibit 5) detailing that such violations were occurring, including illegal race-based discrimination, but my complaint was never investigated and was later dismissed by then-Lt Gen Stephen Whiting, whom the Senate just confirmed for his fourth star.
After two months, I received a written dismissal of my complaint from General Whiting (see Exhibit 6).
After my complaint was dismissed, I wrote a book explaining that the DEI industry, which is steeped in critical race theory, is rooted in anti-American, Marxist ideology, and demonstrated its divisive impact on our troops.
I explained that DEI initiatives and trainings were dividing our armed forces precisely because CRT was created by those who harbored the intention to undermine and destroy the fabric of American society.
I warned that our recruitment and retention would plummet if we continued to foist such a divisive ideology on the men and women in uniform.
Personally, I have always advocated for a non-political military work environment.
Today, I’m here to testify about the ongoing Marxist-inspired efforts to subvert and weaken our military and broader American society.
We often refer to these efforts as wokeism; it is a culture war. Yet, even in this committee, there are differing views about whether there is such a thing as a “culture war” under way.
Some members of this committee have been outspoken critics of DEI initiatives, CRT, drag shows on military bases, and LGBTQ pride celebrations and woke military recruiting videos—all things that are components of an ongoing culture war.
Ranking member Garcia, on the other hand, asserted as recently as two weeks ago in a tweet that the culture wars are “phony” and are merely a political talking point of Republicans (see tweet from December 31, 2023).
But I assure you that Congressman Garcia’s view is NOT the view of many men and women in uniform who labor under the constant burden of race identity politics in the military workplace, and what appears to them to be the destruction of the merit- based system, whether deliberate or incidental.
It’s nothing if not incredible for a member of this committee to assert the culture wars are “phony” while another member of this committee is a member of the so-called progressive ‘Squad,’ was herself a Black Lives Matter organizer and activist (an organization whose publicly avowed ideology is Marxist), and whose ambition for a seat in Congress was, in her own words, “to accomplish a mission”—no doubt a social and cultural mission, as she says she “doesn’t need to take off her activist hat to legislate in Congress.” She claims her activism has been her “guiding force.”
Servicemembers who wear the uniform of their country do not want to see these things in the military workplace or at their bases. In most cases, this is true regardless of their race or political worldview. Despite that reality.
Pentagon officials requested $140 million to expand woke Diversity initiatives in FY2024, up from $68 million and $86.5 million in 2022 and 2023, respectively, and all but three members of this subcommittee voted in favor of it.
There are few things taxpayers such as myself feel is less essential to the mission of our military than expanding Diversity mandates and indoctrination.
Such aggressively opposed ideological worldviews competing for institutionalization through policy epitomizes and formalizes what is properly termed a culture war.
It is an American-Maoist culture war.
The fact that these debates now infect the US military workplace is an offense to people like me who love their country and all people—regardless of race, gender, or background.
I’d like to briefly draw attention to two of a handful of exhibits I have submitted for the committee’s review and for entry into the official record of today’s hearing.
THE FIRST of the exhibits is a 100-page document (see Exhibit 1) which includes real-world unsolicited feedback from military servicemembers, veterans, and parents about the consequences of this administration’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.
It is, I imagine, merely a small part of the overall discontent and disappointment experienced by those who presently serve.
I submit it for the record because to spend even a few minutes with the document is to get a sense for the ways in which the innocuously labeled “DEI trainings” are hurting morale, dividing and distracting troops, disincentivizing Americans from service, and thereby destroying our recruiting and retention efforts.
Further, it is destroying the image of the United States military, which is a critical component of the proper communication of national strength to both allies and enemies alike. We now appear weaker because we are weaker (see Exhibit 7).
THE SECOND exhibit I’d like to mention is a letter signed by 185 retired General and Flag Officers (see Exhibit 2) that is dated May 20, 2023, and was previously sent to then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as well as other House leaders. I have confirmed that those to whom the letter was addressed received it.
For the same reasons as those I’ve previously stated, the letter “requested that Congress, pursuant to its Constitutional powers .. . take legislative action to remove all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs from the Department of Defense (DoD).”
It also requested that Congress “ensure that no DEI related policies, programs, and funding are included in the 2024 NDAA.”
These leaders warned:
“As our Nation faces looming threats from ‘foreign’ adversaries/enemies, our military is under assault from a culture war stemming from ‘domestic’ ideologically inspired political policies and practices. IF NOT STOPPED NOW, they will forever change the military’s warrior ethos essential to performing its mission.”
Despite their request and warning, and despite some genuine efforts of some members of the House, the Congress ultimately DID NOT use the power of the purse to put an end to DEI policies, programs, and funding in the recently approved NDAA.
The men and women who sent that letter raised the warning voice and tried their best to respectfully influence our Nation’s lawmakers.
Both of these exhibits I have mentioned are publicly available at the STARRS.US website.
I said in my book that if we did not abandon the diversity and inclusion trainings, then we would see unprecedented “recruitment and retention woes.”
That has been true and we have seen as a Nation that it is not getting any better.
I also said that unless we abandon our present hate-filled and divisive path, and repent as a nation, we will destroy ourselves.
I reaffirm that view here today, and I’m grateful to answer any questions the committee may have for me.
1. “What Military Service Members, Veterans and Parents Are Saying: Evidence that the CRT/DEI/Woke agenda being pushed in the military is harming morale, recruitment and retention” (100 pages)
2. Flag Officers 4 America Letter, dated May 20, 2023
3. Lt Col Lohmeier_Summary of Military Record (ranked #1/753 Space Force officers at time of promotion to Lt Col)
4. Lohmeier_Civilian CV
5. Lt Col Lohmeier_Space Force IG Complaint Citing Marxist Teachings
6. Lt Gen Stephen Whiting’s Dismissal of the IG Complaint
7. Heritage Foundation’s 2023 Index of US Military Strength Report
Watch his statement (starts at 35:48 mark):