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Gen. Mark Milley: the military is not “woke,” I don’t even know what that word means

Army Gen. Mark Milley pushed back on claims from Republicans that the military is “woke” and as a result not prepared to take on modern threats, saying he’s “not even sure what that word truly means,” according to CNN.

Milley said in an interview on Sunday:

“What I see is a military that’s exceptionally strong. It’s powerful; it’s ready. In fact, our readiness rates, the way we measure readiness, is better now than they’ve been in years.”

The Republican Party criticises the Pentagon for its so-called “woke” policy, pointing to efforts to recruit a diverse military and accommodate transgender troops. That statement has become a major theme in efforts to cut military spending. Earlier this year, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said:

“We’re going to cut money that’s being spent on wokeism; we’re going to cut legacy programs; we’re going to cut a lot of waste.”

Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced his retirement later this month. He notes that the U.S. military is now in better shape than it has been in the past. He said:

“This is a military that’s dedicated to maintaining our readiness, our capabilities, our lethality. And the thing that we also need to focus on is the modernization for the future character of war that I see fundamentally changing. This military is a lot of things, but woke, it’s not. So I take exception to that. I think that people say those things for reasons that are their own reasons, but it’s not true. It’s not accurate. It’s not a broad-brush description of the U.S. military as it exists today.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and U.S. presidential candidate notes that the military is being ordered around by civilian “political ideology” and is “infected with the virus of woke consciousness.” He said on the campaign trail in July:

“This is changing the character of the military, it’s changing the culture of our services, and it’s creating a situation in which great warriors have been driven away and recruiting is at an all time low.”

Defence analysts believe Republican criticism has led to a “real crisis” of confidence in military institutions. A poll conducted in June showed that confidence in the military is at a 25-year low of 60 percent.

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