Editor’s Note: The following letter was submitted to SOFREP by General Bolduc. In it, more than 160 retired admirals and generals are calling on Congress to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs from next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The issue is how these policies will negatively affect national security.  

Please take a moment to read this important document and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you. –GDM



160 Retired Flag Officers sent a letter to:

May 20, 2023
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC, 20515-0520

The Honorable Ken Calvert
House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
2205 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Hakeem S. Jeffries
House Minority Leader
2433 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC, 20515-3208

The Honorable Mike Rogers Chairman
House Armed Services Committee
2469 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC, 20515-0103

Speaker McCarthy, House Minority Leader Jeffries, Chairman Rogers, and Chairman Calvert

We respectfully request that Congress, pursuant to its constitutional powers “…to raise and support Armies…” and “… to provide and maintain a Navy…,” take legislative action to remove all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs from the Department of Defense (DoD).

Additionally, we ask that you ensure no DEI-related policies, programs, and funding are included in the 2024 NDAA. 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 of deterring aggression and failing that, to fight and win our Nation’s wars.

Our military must be laser-focused on one mission—readiness, undiminished by the culture war engulfing our country. For generations, our military was a meritocracy, which simply defined means selection and advancement based solely on merit and ability. Service Members (SMs) were judged not by the
color of their skin but by their character, duty performance, and potential. Meritocracy, coupled with equal opportunity, created conditions for all to advance and excel, which stimulates healthy
competition, thereby raising standards. Historically, our military has been one of, if not the most, diverse and inclusive institution in America.

The domestic cultural threat has an innocuous name: “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). But, in reality DEI is dividing, not uniting, our military and society. DEI’s principles derive from
critical race theory, which is rooted in cultural Marxism, where people are grouped into identity classes (typically by race), labeled as “oppressed” or “oppressors,” and pitted against each other.
Under the guise of DEI, some people are selected for career-enhancing opportunities and advancement based on preferences given to identity groups based on race, gender, ethnic
background, sexual orientation, etc.

For example, the DoD twice admitted to using race in service academy admissions in its 2022 amicus brief in the pending Supreme Court college admissions cases.

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Our military has practiced “equality” by giving equal opportunities for all to achieve. The equality approach ignores skin color, gender, or ethnicity seeing all SMs as equal, with a common set of values and mission. This does not diminish their individuality but rather celebrates their dedication to duty and a higher noble calling of selfless service to our Nation.

DEI’s “Equity” sounds benign, but in practice, it lowers standards. While equality provides equal opportunities, equity’s goal is equal outcomes. To achieve equal outcomes using identity group
characteristics, standards must be lowered to accommodate the desired equity outcomes. Lower standards reduce performance where even slight differences in capability impact readiness and
can determine war-fighting mission success or failure.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practices use identity-based preferences in selections for career schools and promotions. As with equity, D&I lowers standards by not always selecting the best
qualified to become pilots, academy cadets, leaders at all ranks, etc.   Identity-based preferences create friction and distrust in the ranks, damaging unit cohesion, teamwork, and unity of effort, further degrading readiness.

The “One Team, One Fight” battle motto describes a meritocracy-based military characterized by:

• a common mission and purpose;
• unqualified loyalty to the team and not to an individual’s identity group;
• total trust and confidence in each other for their very lives from the foxhole to the highest
• teamwork/camaraderie resulting in the unit cohesion essential for warfighting readiness.

Meritocracy is essential for winning. In professional sports – where the mission is to win games – the best players are fielded to win, no matter their skin color. If meritocracy is used in sports
where the consequence of losing a game is minor, why is it not essential in the military where the worst-case consequences of losing a major war are unimaginable losses of life, destruction, and
perhaps our Nation? To win, the best-qualified SMs must be selected to lead America’s sons and daughters into life-and-death situations. Meritocracy wins games and it wins wars!

We have fought for our Nation and are sounding the alarm that DEI poses a grave danger to our military warfighting ethos and is degrading warfighting readiness. Social engineering, commonly
called “wokeism,” has no place in our military. China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are not distracted by DEI programs; no doubt they are watching us. Equal opportunity and merit-based performance have been battle tested for generations and proven essential for success. DEI policies and practices must be eliminated from the DoD to protect our critical warfighting readiness.

Respectfully submitted,

MG Anders B. Aadland, USA (ret)
BG Dale F. Andres, USA (ret)
RADM Philip Anselmo, USN, (ret)
MG Joe Arbuckle, USA (ret)
BG Edwin J. Arnold, Jr. USA (ret)
BG John C. Arick, USMC (ret)
BG Ernest C. Audino, USA (ret)
RADM Jon Bayless, USN (ret)
RDML James Best, USN (ret)
LTG Rod Bishop, USAF (ret)
BG Stephen M. Bliss, USA (ret)
BG William Bloomer, USMC (ret)
BG Don Bolduc, USA (ret)
MG William Bowdon, USMC (ret)
LTG William G. Boykin, USA (ret)
MG Edward Bracken, USAF (ret)
MG Pat Brady, USA MOH (ret)
RADM Bruce Bremer, USN (ret)
RADM Peter J. Brown, USN (ret)
LTG Richard “Tex” Brown III, USAF (ret)
BG Frank Bruno, USAF (ret)
VADM Toney Michael Bucchi, USN (ret)
MG David P. Burford, USA (ret)
MG Bobby Butcher, USMC (ret)
RADM John T. Byrd, USN (ret)
MG Henry Canterbury, USAF (ret)
RADM James J. Carey, USN (ret)
BG Jim Cash, USAF (ret)
LTG Dennis Cavin, USA (ret)
LTG James E. Chambers, USAF (ret)
MG Carroll D. Childers, USA (ret)
BG Lawrence L. Christensen, USAF (ret)
RDML Ronald Christenson, USN (ret)
RADM Arthur Clark, USN (ret)
MG Peter Clegg, USA (ret)
MG Jay Closner, USAF (ret)
MG Richard L. Comer, USAF (ret)
MG Tom Cole, USA (ret)
BG Keith B. Connolly, USAF (ret)
BG James N. Coombes, USAF (ret)
Gen. Terrance R. Dake, USMC (ret)
BG Duane Deal, USAF (ret)
BG Howard DeWolf, USAF (ret)
MG Robert Dickerson, USMC (ret)
BG James Dienst, USAF (ret)
MG James L. Dozier, USA (ret)
BG Philip M. Drew, USAF (ret)
General Michael Dugan, USAF (ret)
MG Felix Dupre, USAF (ret)
MG Neil L. Eddins, USAF (ret)
RADM Ernest Elliot, SC, USN (ret)
MG Wade Farris, USAF (ret)
BG Steven J. Feldmann, USA (ret)
LTG Michael Flynn, USA (ret)
BG Rufus Forrest, USAF (ret)
MG Larry D. Fortner, USAF (ret)
BG Jerome Foust, USA (ret)
BG Jimmy E. Fowler, USA (ret)
BG C. William Fox, Jr. M.D., USA (ret)
RADM J. Cameron Fraser, USN (ret)
MG John T. Furlow, USA (ret)
MG Brian I. Geehan, USA (ret0
MG Francis C. Gideon, Jr. USAF (ret)
MG Lee V. Greer, USAF (ret)
MG Thomas Griffith, USAF (ret)
RDML M.R. Groothousen, Sr, USN (ret)
BG John H. Grueser, USAF (ret)
MG Otto K. Habedank, USAF (ret)
MG Kenneth Hagemann, USAF (ret)
RADM D.M. Hagen, USN (ret)
Gen. Alfred Hansen, USAF (ret)
BG Murray A. Hansen, USAF (ret)
RDML John g. Hekman, USN (ret)
RADM Larry L. Hereth, USCG (ret)
MG Harald G. Hermes, USAF (ret)
BG James M. Hesson, USA (ret)
MG William b. Hobgood, USA (ret)
BG Stanislaus J. Hoey, USA (ret)
MG Bob Hollingsworth, USMC (ret)
BG Thomas W. Honeywill, USAF (ret)
BG Francis A. Hughes, USA (ret)
MG Jim Hunt, USAF (ret)
MG Dewitt T. Irby, Jr., USA (ret)
MG Donald L. Jacka, USA (ret)
MG Alan Johnson, USA (ret)
LTG James H. Johnson, Jr. USA (ret)
BG James M. Johnston III, USAF (ret)
BG Charles Jones, USAF (ret)
BG Robert R. Jordan, USA (ret)
RDML Herbert C. Kaler, USN (ret)
MG Anthony R. Kropp, USA (ret)
RADM Chuck Kubic, CEC, USN (ret)
BG Jerry L. Laws, USA (ret)
RDML Bobby C. Lee, USN (ret)
VADM Dean Lee, USCG (ret)
MG James E. Livingston, USMC, MOH
MG John D. Logeman, USAF (ret)
MG Donald Logeais, USAF (ret)
BG John Lotz, USAF (ret)
BG Robert W. Lovell, USAF (ret)
RDML John T. Lyons III, USN (ret)
MG James C. McCombs, USAF (ret)
LTG Fred McCorkle, USMC (ret)
LTG Thomas McInerney, USAF (ret)
RADM John H. McKinley, USN (ret)
BG Michael P. McRaney, USAF (ret)
BG Ronald Scott Mangum, USA (ret)
BG Jeffrey Marshall, USA (ret)
BG Joe Mensching, USAF (ret)
RADM William F. Merlin, USCG (ret)
MG John F. Miller, Jr, USAF (ret)
RDML James Alan Morgart, USN (ret)
RADM John A. Moriarty, USN (ret)
RADM David R. Morris, USN (ret)
BG Benton Murdock, USA (ret)
RADM William E. Newman, USN (ret)
RADM Phillip R. Olson. USN (ret)
MG Ray O’Mara, USAF (ret)
MG Joe Owens, USA (ret)
VADM Jimmy Pappas, USN (ret)
RADM Russ Penniman, USN (ret)
MG Richard Perrault, USAF (ret)
BG Christopher J. Petty, ARNG (ret)
RADM William W. Pickavance, Jr. USN (ret)
RADM Leonard Picotte, USN (ret)
VADM John Poindexter, USN (ret)
MG David S. Post, USA (ret)
RDML J.J. Quinn, USN (ret)
MG Bentley B. Rayburn, USAF (ret)
LTG Clifford Rees, Jr., USAF (ret)
MG Ron Richard, USMC (ret)
BG Teddy Rinebarger, USAF (ret)
MG H. Douglas Robertson, USA (ret)
MG Edward Sauley, USAF (ret)
RADM Norman T. Saunders, USCG (ret)
BG Mark Scheid, USA (ret)
MG John P. Schoeppner, Jr. USAF (ret)
LTG Richard M. Scofield, USAF (ret)
RADM Paul S. Semko, USN (ret)
LTG E.G. ”Buck” Shuler, Jr. USAF (ret)
BG Tracey Siems, USAF (ret)
MG Darwin H. Simpson, USA (ret)
BG Donald Smith, USAF (ret)
LTG Hubert G. Smith, USA (ret)
BG Ralph Smith, Jr. USAF (ret)
MG Ronald C. Spivey, USAF (ret)
LTG Tom Spoehr, USA (ret)
BG mark Stearns, USAF (ret)
MG James N. Stewart, USAF (ret)
BG Joseph Stringham, USA (ret)
RADM Jeremy D. Taylor, USN (ret)
LT Gen. David Teal, USAF (ret)
LTG William Thurman, USAF (ret)
LTG Garry Trexler, USAF (ret)
BG Richard J. Valente, USA (ret)
MG Paul Vallely, USA (ret)
RADM Larry G. Vogt, USN (ret)
BG David B. Warner, USAF (ret)
LTG Ronald L. Watts, USA (ret)
MG Kenneth W. Weir, USMCR (ret)
BG Bill Welch, USAF (ret)
BG David L. Weeks, USA (ret)
BG Robert E. Windham, USA (ret)
RADM H. Denny Wisely, USN (ret)
LTG John Woodmansee, JR. USA (ret)
BG Robert V. Woods, USAF (ret)
LTG John L. Woodward, Jr. USAF (ret)
RADM Robert O. Wray, Jr., USN (ret)