The Pentagon has resumed its diversity training efforts, reversing the Trump administration’s cutbacks on such programs, Military.com reported.
One of President Joe Biden’s executive orders on his first day in office revoked former President Donald Trump's halt to training on subjects like race theory and white privilege, declaring, "Our diversity is one of our country's greatest strengths."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin followed with a memo rescinding the Trump administration's restriction on diversity training, and the services followed suit, Military.com reported.
The reversal ends the Trump administration’s move six months ago, when it labeled diversity training programs as “un-American propaganda training sessions."
In a Sept. 4, 2020, memo, former Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought said executive branch agencies had spent millions of taxpayer dollars "training government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda,” Military.com reported.
According to the news outlet, Vought ordered agencies to identify and then cancel or defund contracts or agency spending for training on critical race theory, white privilege "or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either ... that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or ... that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil."
Within a week, the Air Force began the process of ending those contracts as the OMB memo required, the news outlet reported.
Trump later issued an executive order "to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating," which more formally barred federal workplaces, uniformed services and federal contractors from promoting such "divisive concepts."
With Biden’s executive order, that’s all changed.
Military.com reported that in a Feb. 24 email, Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Leah Brading said the service had followed Austin's instructions, sending a message to the field allowing units to immediately go back to the kind of training that existed before last September.
"The Department of the Air Force is committed to fostering a culture where all our members are free to make their fullest contributions toward mission success without unnecessary barriers," Brading told Military.com in the email.
"Diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity education and training are essential to cultivate positive values and behaviors, as well as an environment where inclusion and equity for all personnel is achieved."
According to Military.com, any moves the Air Force took last year to suspend contracts could also be reversed.
And in a March 4 memo, the Army ordered its Military Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity offices to resume diversity and inclusion training — which it had stopped with a new policy issued last December, the news outlet reported.
On Feb. 21, the Navy issued its own order resuming all diversity and inclusion training.
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