Space Force commander fired after podcast remarks

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The Space Force has relieved an officer of his command after recent comments he made on a podcast criticizing the diversity and inclusion initiatives the military has recently been encouraging. 

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Lohmeier, who was promoting his new book "Irresistible Revolution: Marxism's Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American 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. 

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. He called the teachings about systemic racism that are proliferating in schools "un-American." 

"Our diversity, inclusion and equity industry and the trainings we're receiving in the military via that industry are rooted in critical race theory which is rooted in Marxism," Lohmeier said. 

Critical Race Theory came to the forefront of academia in the 1980s and is based in part on the idea of critical theory, which argues that societal problems are caused by societal constructs.

Lohmeier was removed on Friday by Lieutenant General Stephen Whiting, and Whiting has initiated an investigation into Lohmeier's comments to see if they constitute prohibited partisan political activity.  

"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," according to a statement issued by a Space Force spokesperson. "This decision was based on public comments made by Lt. Col. Lohmeier in a recent podcast."

Under a Department of Defense directive, 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.  

Military.com first reported the investigation into Lohmeier and that he had been relieved of his command. 

Lohmeier said the stand down to address extremism in the ranks that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed all of the services to conduct in the wake of the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Lohmeier told Wood he was given a "70-page booklet" with "talking points" on extremism.  

He said about Austin, who is the nation's first Black defense secretary, "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."

Lohmeier said he doesn't care about the political views of his fellow service members, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, but he does not want to see institutions politicized. He said new service members are met with 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. The Defense Department is also taking a look at the racial inequality in part because of the disproportionately low number of Black officers, given the large numbers of Black members in  the total force. 

Conservative lawmakers are criticizing the Space Force for relieving Lohmeier. Senator Ted Cruz, Congressmen Dan Crenshaw, Matt Gaetz and others took to Twitter to condemn the decision.  

L. Todd Wood at the start of the podcast joked, "You'll probably be removed after this interview goes live." Lohmeier laughed and said, "that would be a hefty move" considering the thousands of books on Communism and Marxism that he studied at Maxwell Air Force Base. 

On Monday, Lohmeier's book was temporarily out of stock on Amazon and is the #1 bestseller in books on the site.

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