President Donald Trump has tried to eradicate some diversity training programs in the federal government, including at the Pentagon.
But now a former Army Ranger and Democratic member of Congress is fighting back.
On Thursday, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and is a veteran of the Iraq War, plans to introduce new legislation that would mandate a more rigorous diversity training program for troops, civilian staff, and contractors at the Defense Department. A draft bill was shared with me before the final version’s release.
While service members already go through diversity training as mandated by law, the Realizing Efforts for Military Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REMEDI) Act would update current language to ensure programs include issues like racism, general and sexual orientation discrimination, unconscious bias, and equal opportunity. The measure would also expand the number of people who receive such training and where they get it, like during their professional military education stints.
The aim isn’t just to create a greater understanding of diversity issues in America’s armed forces, of which 43 percent are people of color, for example. It’s to inculcate their importance throughout the entire military.
“We’re not doing nearly enough to say diversity and inclusion are an important part of our force,” Crow told me. “It’s as important as how to throw a hand grenade, how to shoot a rifle, and how to make a bed. Actually, it’s much more important than those things.”
The decision to introduce the measure was taken partly in response to the executive order Trump signed in September to ban critical race theory training within federal departments, which this bill would counteract. Pentagon staffers told me it didn’t really affect their diversity programming, but some did
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