Republican Senator Tom Cotton sent a letter Thursday to Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet, demanding details about Lockheed’s diversity and inclusion training and claiming that the programs violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
In the document, Cotton slams the company’s three-day seminar, coined “White Men’s Caucus,” which perpetuated stereotypes about white, male, and heterosexual societal advantages, City Journal’s Christopher Rufo reported. The senator called out the “white privilege” section, which said that white people culturally profit from supremacist norms and “minimize the perspectives and powers of people of other races.” He also demanded to know whether taxpayer dollars were spent on the trainings.
Lockheed Martin is the nation’s largest defense contractor, which manufactures aircraft and weapons systems for the U.S. military.
Thirteen Lockheed executives and senior leaders, including a retired three-star general and a vice president of its F-35 fighter jet program, were then asked to generate their own stereotypes about certain identity groups, specifically the connotations for “white men.” For the whites category, the trainers came up with “racist,” “privileged,” “set in their ways,” “KKK,” “anti-woman,” “old,” “angry,” and others. The participants said that it was these negative associations that lead many people to believe that white men “don’t care about diversity,” documents obtained by Rufo showed.
Cotton alleged in his letter that the training may violate the policy of equal treatment and civil rights law generally. He specified that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race and participating in any practices that “limit, segregate, or classify their employees.” Cotton suggested that the corporation could face potential liability for engaging in such activities that “create a hostile work environment.”
The senator also demanded that Taiclet answer a series of questions about the training, including how many employees had participated in it, how those employees were selected, and whether it was voluntary or mandatory.
Cotton’s statement comes amid criticism from prominent Republican lawmakers over progressive “woke” ideology infiltrating the U.S. armed forces and associated defense contractors. Cotton and Representative Dan Crenshaw recently announced the launch of a whistleblower page for active service members to report and expose incidents of aggressive “woke” policy in the military.
Despite Republican fears that the American defense sector’s newfound preoccupation with inclusivity will diminish military effectiveness, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirmed that the military will “never be soft” and that recruiting for diversity is essential.
Cotton has already introduced legislation to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the military, claiming that it peddles noxious principles such as that America was founded on the institution of racism and that some individuals are “inherently” racist by virtue of their own race or ethnicity.