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Does Woke Mean Reduced Performance and Safety?

More evidence suggests diversity, equity, and inclusion scores equal danger.

Is a woke civilian and military workforce driving shoddy work and reduced emphasis on quality performance? A woke work environment — identified by an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), not on quality, safety, or performance — is upon us. As corporate and military leadership follow the principles of DEI, there appears to be a corresponding increased frequency of undesirable corporate and military factors.

Woke Culture Versus Military Readiness

The readiness of the US military to engage in and win wars should be the only measure of effectiveness that matters. Consistently, research into and evaluations of the Defense Department’s capability to meet and defeat adversaries has been found wanting. These recent benchmarks of the US military’s capability have been coincidental with an increased emphasis on DEI non-military readiness factors. It is axiomatic that correlation does not equal causation. Still, when a sudden increase in one condition correlates with an equally precipitous rise in another, it’s worth some exploration.

Safety is a crucial indicator of overall performance. As Andrew Dyer explained in his Virginia Pilot article about 18 months ago:

“A spate of military aircraft crashes over recent months is again raising questions about the Pentagon’s approach to safety and training across military branches. In June, six service members died in two Southern California crashes — a Lemoore, California-based F/A-18E pilot on June 3 in San Bernardino County and five Camp Pendleton-based Marines in an MV-22B Osprey that crashed in Imperial County June 8. The next day, June 9, a San Diego-based MH-60 Seahawk helicopter also crashed.”

“Some commenters have noted that these aviation safety mishaps, some of which have narrowly avoided becoming deadly disasters, coincide with an industry emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures,” Andrew Afifian related in The Dallas Express. He described a recent American Airlines Boeing 777 ramp accident. The aircraft was in the process of being pushed back from its departure gate when the tug operator jockeyed the large airliner into the tail of a stationary Frontier Airlines Airbus A321. This demonstrated operator error and incompetence of the individuals marshaling the aircraft, pure and simple.

Airlines With Highest DEI Scores Are Ranked as Least Safe

From a statistical perspective, a recent study by Research Gate entitled “Breaking the Barriers; An Analysis of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategies in the Global Aviation Industry,” published last year, bear out Afifian’s concerns. The Research Gate study examined four US airlines and six foreign air carriers. The US-based airlines scored significantly higher based on each airline’s DEI score. Good news, right? If you are a DEI activist, probably it is. If you are a frequent airline passenger, maybe not.

In a recent ranking of the 20 safest airlines of 2023 by Forbes, the air carriers with the highest DEI scores — United, American, and Delta — were not in the top ten safest airlines. They were ranked 14, 19, and 20, respectively. This may be a troubling signal for DEI advocates and perhaps a cautionary tale for the Defense Department. National security and airline safety have one thing in common: People’s lives are in the hands of the operators.

Zerohedge.com has identified numerous reports of commercial airlines in a single week having engine fires after takeoff; aircraft veering off the runway; tires coming off landing gear and crushing cars in the airport parking lot; and mechanical failures leading to the immediate return to the airport of commercial airliners. This is worrisome, especially when many of these mishaps can be traced back to human error.

Congress has attempted to stop the Department of Defense from placing DEI objectives over readiness. Now, because of so many recent incidents, the US aviation industry has come into the crosshairs of US lawmakers. “I’m calling for the CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, to come before Congress to explain the multiple incidents that have occurred over the last several days, including one of their aircraft skidding off the runway in Houston, TX, today [March 8],” Rep. Troy E. Nehls (R-TX) posted on X.

Focusing on DEI and woke objectives to the exclusion of merit and quality performance will have consequences. Readiness and safety for the military and safe airline travel are in the balance.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.

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