A senior officer with the U.S. Space Force has been relieved of duty after making a series of controversial comments attacking military diversity and inclusion efforts on a conservative podcast.
Eleanor Watson of CBS News has reported that “Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Lohmeier, who was promoting his new book Irresistible Revolution and Cultural Marxism in the U.S. Military on the podcast “Information Operation” with host L. Todd Wood, claimed inclusion and diversity training are based in Marxism and critical race theory, which examines systemic racism and how institutions have benefited white people.”
According to Watson, “during the podcast and in his new book, Lohmeier singled out The New York Times 1619 Project, which looks at the impact slavery had on the foundation of American institutions.”
Lohmeier also labeled education efforts to teach teenagers about systemic racism in schools “un-American.”
In a statement following the interview, Space Force representatives said, “Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command commander, relieved Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier of command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron, Buckley AFB, Colo., May 14 due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead. This decision was based on public comments made by Lt. Col. Lohmeier in a recent podcast.”
Lt. Gen. Whiting also announced that the military branch would be launching an investigation into Lohmeier’s comments to determine whether they “constitute prohibited partisan political activity.”
Watson reported that under current Department of Defense directives, “active-duty service members may not participate in partisan activities, such as speaking before a partisan gathering, and The Hatch Act prohibits using one’s official authority in the political arena.”
In his critique of the military’s new diversity and inclusion initiatives, Lohmeier claimed he was given a “70-page booklet” with “talking points” on extremism after former President Trump and his rabid followers tried to stage an insurrection at the Capitol. Referencing Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin — the nation’s first Black defense secretary — Lohmeier reportedly said, “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.”
In the podcast, Lohmeier claimed he “doesn’t care” about the political views or party affiliations of his fellow service members but is highly opposed to a “hyper-politicized work environment” where diversity and inclusion initiatives are “being pushed constantly” with book readings and discussions.
“The Pentagon has prioritized combating extremism in the ranks after the January 6 assault on the Capitol. At least 45 current or former military members have been arrested in connection with the riot,” Watson reported. “The Defense Department is also taking a look at the racial inequality in part because of the disproportionately low number of Black officers [in leadership roles], given the large numbers of Black members in the total force.”
In an ironic twist, the podcast host L. Todd Wood joked at the start of the interview that Lohmeier’s appearance could be putting his career in danger.
“You’ll probably be removed after this interview goes live,” Wood said.
Lohmeier laughed it off and said that he doubted it because “that would be a hefty move” on the part of military officials.