May 11, 2023

A Cluster of an Air Force

A pilot program for diversity in pilots failed to really take flight.

As if things weren’t bad enough in the private sector as a result of Marxism’s redux under the guise of “woke” trappings, the U.S. Air Force is not to be outdone in this dubious category.

Specifically, in 2021 leadership at 19th Air Force headquarters directed the selection of a specific Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) class at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, using higher numbers of minorities and females so that the class would mirror the broader racial and gender demographic of the U.S. The ostensible idea was to determine if such a “clustering” (the Air Force’s apparent euphemism for race- and gender-based quota-hiring) demographics would improve the group’s UPT graduation rates. Setting aside the idiocy of the presuppositions underpinning such an “experiment,” the social gerrymandering violated U.S. anti-discrimination law as well as Air Force policies. It also didn’t work.

An Air Education and Training Command (AETC) spokesperson told The Daily Caller that “initial results and student feedback from the clustering experiment was ‘inconclusive,’” in that “test” students did not progress at faster rates than the preceding classes, and that “not all students saw clustering as beneficial.” If by “not all” the spokesperson meant “no student who didn’t get special treatment on the basis of skin color and/or gender,” the statement would likely have been closer to the truth. But this is a spokesperson, after all, of a broader national defense regime that thinks “climate change” — not China, Russia, Iran, or a host of other existential threats to the U.S. — is the number one threat to America.

In that view, we suppose we should take what we can get when it comes to statements that are in the neighborhood of the truth. The spokesperson added, “No further clustering activities are planned at this time.” That’s good, because we wholeheartedly agree that this foray by the Air Force into woke engineering was a “cluster” (hyphenated suffix omitted). Note, however, that AETC did not disavow “clustering” as a potential strategy at some future point — i.e., once again, when no one is looking, as usual. But wait — it gets worse: This fuster gets really clucked.

Realizing that “clustering” of the incoming class would fall short of the targeted demographic because of shortfalls of the “right type” (as accurately translated from Air Force p.c.-speak) of candidates for this woke-ified UPT class, Laughlin’s Operations Group Commander verbally ordered officers to populate the class with “anybody non-white,” according to a Memo for Record drafted by the officers to document the commander’s unlawful directives. That is, in this reverse-Jim Crow Bizarro World, “whites need not apply.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness at its very best!

Meanwhile, the Air Force is far from alone, sadly. For example, the Navy recently resorted to using a transgender “Digital Ambassador” known as “Harpy Daniels” in a worthless attempt to stop the bleeding in its flagging recruitment. Evidently, its “crack” marketing team (yes that’s a pun) determined that drag queens make outstanding recruiters. Never mind appeals to duty, service, honor, character-shaping, patriotism, or the like. These are woefully unfashionable and couldn’t possibly boost recruitment numbers that mysteriously dropped like an anchor immediately after the Biden regime assumed power. “Digital” ambassador, indeed!

From a broader perspective, we’ve previously discussed what happens when merit is replaced by woke metrics, especially as it relates to airlines and plane crashes.

This sad vignette echoes our thoughts from that discussion. Perhaps an Air Force instructor pilot put it best: “When other priorities, like gender or race, are introduced as a metric of assignment and advancement, the foundations of performance-based competition are sacrificed and the emphasis on safety takes a backseat.”

The bottom line is that when merit is unseated as the principal metric, performance and safety — and, in the case of our nation’s military, readiness — are all jeopardized.

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