President Biden’s secretary of the Army responded to the criticism that the military branch was becoming "woke," saying the branch’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs are "important."
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth spoke at a Monday discussion with other military leaders on national security and the branch’s modernization efforts.
While speaking at the event, Wormuth responded to the criticisms that the Army is going "woke" by saying the DEI programs being forced on soldiers are "important."
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"We get criticized, frankly, sometimes for being ‘woke,'" Wormuth said. "I'm not sure what ‘woke’ means. I think ‘woke’ means a lot of different things to different people."
"But, first of all, if ‘woke’ means 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," the Army secretary continued.
"I do think we do have a wide range of soldiers in our Army, and we've got to make them all feel included," Wormuth said. "And that’s why a lot of our diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are important."
Wormuth’s comments come as the U.S. military faces a recruitment crisis amid criticisms that leadership have become too "woke."
The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado recently faced criticism after Fox News Digital revealed that a diversity training instructed cadets to use words that "include all genders" and to refrain from saying things like "mom" and "dad."
The slide presentation titled, "Diversity & Inclusion: What it is, why we care, & what we can do," advised cadets to use "person-centered" and gender-neutral language when describing individuals.
"Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad,'" the presentation said . "Use words that include all genders: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys’; ‘partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend.’"
An Air Force Academy spokesperson previously told Fox News Digital that the diversity training will help improve the cadets' "warfighting effectiveness."
"As part of the Diversity & Inclusion Cadet Leadership Program, this conversation was developed by cadet leaders and USAFA staff to introduce all cadets to Department of the Air Force definitions of diversity and inclusion, as well as how these concepts enhance our warfighting effectiveness," the spokesperson said at the time.
Fox News Digital's Jessica Chasmar contributed reporting