WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton has introduced new legislation he claims will fight back against “racist” training in the military.
The junior senator from Arkansas introduced a bill on Thursday called the “Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act,” which he said was designed to prohibit the U.S. Armed Forces from promoting what Cotton called “racist theories” with a focus on critical race theory.
The senator derided the area of study as having “no place in our military, saying the teachings could “undermine our troops’ faith in each other.”
“Our military’s strength depends on the unity of our troops and the knowledge that America is a noble nation worth fighting for. Critical Race Theory teaches that race is a person’s most important characteristic and that America is an evil, oppressive place. That idea may be fashionable in left-wing circles and college classrooms, but it has no place in our military,” Cotton said in a release announcing the bill. “Not only will such racist ideas undermine our troops’ faith in each other, they’ll also erode their trust in our country’s guiding principles. The United States military shouldn’t be promoting such divisive, un-American ideas.”
The U.S. Military Academy Library at West Point has one textbook about the topic in a reading list for a behavioral science and leadership course, but it is not currently clear if critical race theory has any focused role in U.S. military training.
Recent books have also been recommended within a reading list and in a book club by the Navy that speaks on thinking within the academic movement.
Navy officials said earlier this month that while they do not promote all of the theories within the books, they feel that it exposes sailors to varied viewpoints which improves critical thinking skills.
In September of 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order canceling contracts on diversity training, calling the training “divisive concepts.”
President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking Trump’s order on his first day in office, declaring, “our diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths.”
In February, the Navy and Air Force both issued an order resuming all diversity training.
The Army said in a March 4 email that it ordered its Military Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity offices to immediately resume diversity and inclusion training.