Speech Code Enforcement Provokes Military Action amid Historic Troop Shortages
As international conflicts and tensions continue to mount, the U.S. military’s persistent focus appears to be on rules of speech.
On Sunday, it was reported that a retired three-star Army general was relieved of his duties for a since-deleted tweet poking fun at a tweet by First Lady Jill Biden in which she voiced her displeasure at the recent Dobbs Supreme Court decision. The suspension follows news of a separate Army investigation that was launched in which a chaplain sent an email to his unit that expressed elation after the Dobbs decision was released on June 24.
These most recent incidents come after the launch of a Naval instruction video informing sailors how to use gender pronouns for those who identify as the opposite of their biological sex.
The crackdowns on speech and pronoun regulation come at a particularly sensitive time for troop retainment in the U.S. military. In late June, reports emerged that every branch of the military is failing to meet their recruitment goals, with recruitment levels at their lowest point since 1973. Experts say that while there are a number of issues contributing to the decline in recruitment, a focus on inserting controversial social issues into the armed forces from military brass and Biden administration officials is partly to blame.
Meanwhile, the Army announced on July 8 that it would bar over 60,000 National Guardsmen from service, pay, and benefits for declining to get a COVID vaccination. As noted by the New York Post, “Just six out of 53 Guardsmen who requested a medical exemption were approved by the Army and none of the 3,000 requests for religious exemptions made by Guardsmen and Reservists have been granted.”
An Army spokesperson stated that Guardsmen who decline the vaccination “are subject to adverse administrative actions, including flags, bars to service, and official reprimands” despite reports that “those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted” are still not protected against COVID variants. Variants make up the majority of current COVID cases and are not as deadly.
With mounting global crises including an increasingly aggressive China and hostile Russia that multiple experts agree will require an exceptionally strong U.S. military force to deal with, it remains to be seen whether stringent speech codes and zero-tolerance vaccine policies are the recipe for military success.
Family Research Council’s Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin was unconvinced. “The decision to discharge service members who refuse the vaccine is a terrible one when our adversaries are growing stronger, and our military is growing weaker,” he told The Washington Stand. “Our military is being inundated by a plethora of training that has nothing to do with readiness or preparing for war. Instead, it is about having a woke military. Not only are they kicking people out over the vaccine but many service members are leaving voluntary because they are not being trained appropriately to do their job, which is to win the nation’s wars.”
“That, combined with the fact that recruiting in our military today is off maybe as much as 40% simply means that young Americans do not want to be a part of today’s military,” Boykin concluded.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.