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Rep. Gaetz Denounces Defense Secretary Austin For “Woke” Contract To Black College

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz on Friday attacked the Defense Department for another defense of wokeism.
Rep. Matt Gaetz

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz on Friday attacked the Defense Department for another defense of wokeism.

Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican who has been a frequent critic of the Pentagon’s social justice and social engineering programs under Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, denounced the agency for contract with Howard University, a historically black university.

The GOP congressman, writing in an opinion piece posted for The Washington Examiner, slammed Austin for a race-driven award of a five-year, $90 million contract to Howard for research into something called “tactical autonomy.”

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Howard’s school newspaper reported that tactical autonomy means the development of “efficient, affordable, trustworthy human-machine teaming and systems-of-systems with autonomy and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that fall within the U.S. Air Force, Space Force, and DOD’s modernization priorities.”

Whatever that means.

Rather, most of the news coverage focused on the fact that Howard becomes the first Historically Black College or University to be designated a University Affiliated Research Center with the Defense Department. That status put Howard in the same company as MIT, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins, USC, and the University of Texas.

Austin, in fact, pointed out that Howard was chosen primarily because it is an HBCU.

“Only a tiny fraction of our department’s research funding goes to HBCUs. As secretary of defense, I am determined to change that. To sharpen America’s technological edge and to strengthen America’s outstanding military, the department is committed to investing in even more HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. Today, we are taking that commitment to a new level,” he said at the event earlier this week.

That, however, is the problem, Gaetz argued in his column.

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“What do you call a $90 million research and development contract awarded based on race other than ‘woke’?” Gaetz wrote.

“Austin’s role as secretary of defense isn’t to make sure that our research and development contracts are given out to people of the right race. He is supposed to be focused on keeping the nation safe. The quality of the research is what matters, not the skin color of the people performing the research. This used to be obvious, but apparently, now it needs to be said out loud.”

“In Austin’s defense,” Gaetz continued, “the Pentagon is merely following its commander-in-chief’s lead. On his first day in office, [President Joe] Biden called for an ‘ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda.’ ‘Equity’ is another word for socialism,” Gaetz continued.

“Instead of equal opportunity, equity seeks identical results for everyone. … In practice, this policy has led to an illegal, race-based attempt to forgive loans only for black farmers, among other things.”

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Gaetz argued that Austin seeks to replicate such policies at the

Defense Department, noting Austin’s comment at the award ceremony that he is “committed to investing even more in HBCUs and minority-serving institutions.”

“Republicans must put an end to this. Not only is the pursuit of ‘equity’ immoral, but it’s most certainly no way to run a military,” Gaetz concluded.

“I’m determined to use the annual defense spending bill to uproot this sort of nonsense. Austin must prioritize winning wars, not winning applause from liberals.”

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