Speakers at the conference included Wormuth, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, discussing national security and modernization within the Army, the Post Millennial reported.
Wormuth, addressing the press, discussed the demographics of the military branch and stated her belief that the Army should be more inclusive.
“What I would emphasize is I think, more broadly in terms of, you know, soldiers coming from marginalized communities or, you know, demographics that are not widely represented in the Army, that’s part of why we’ve got to emphasize positive command climates and inclusion,” she said.
“We get criticized, frankly, sometimes for being woke.” she added. “I’m not sure what woke means.”
She continued, insisting that the term is relative, that the Army is still focused on keeping up with other armies of the world and that the diversity programming in the Army is important for marginalized soldiers.
“I would say if woke means, you know, we are not focused on warfighting, we are not focused on readiness, that doesn’t reflect what I see at installations all around the country or overseas when I go and visit,” she rambled. “But I think, you know, we do have a wide range of soldiers in our army, and we’ve got to make them all feel included. And that’s why a lot of our diversity, equity and inclusion programs are important.”
The increasing focus on diversity initiatives seems to have taken a toll on recruitment, as the Army has fallen short of its expectations in the most recent fiscal year, bringing in 45,000 new recruits—15,000 fewer than expected.
The Department of Defense released an article outlining the necessity of diversity programming the military as they move forward, in an attempt to expand their recruitment base as young people become less and less qualified to serve.
“I would hope that as many leaders and members of the total force as possible see [diversity, equity and inclusion] efforts as a force multiplier,” said Bishop Garrison, senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense for human capital and diversity, equity and inclusion.