‘Pride’ Celebrations At Air Force Bases Distract From Mission

As U.S. Air Force bases in Virginia and Texas have moved forward with plans to host a range of “Pride Month” LGBT festivities, a question looms large: Are these events necessary celebrations of diversity, or are they costly distractions from the readiness and performance of our military forces?

The latter point of view is gaining ground among mainstream Americans. U.S. Air Force bases in these two states are set to host several on-base, LGBT-themed events commemorating Pride Month. Among these are the “Diversity Equity Inclusion & Accessibility Festival” at Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE), a Pride Month Paint n’ Sip and LGBTQ Panel, and even a Pride parade at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.

While proponents argue these events foster inclusivity, critics, like Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), say they are costly distractions from the military’s primary role. In a recent statement, Roy criticized the Defense Department for using taxpayer dollars for such celebrations. He even suggested that Republicans should pull support for the annual National Defense Authorization Act if these events continue.

Furthermore, the Air Force’s recent decision to publicly acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of LGBT service members on Twitter has also received mixed responses. Conservative figures like Benny Johnson, chief creative officer for student group Turning Point USA, and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) argue that the American flag is the only flag a U.S. military personnel member should salute.

It is critical to question if allocating resources for these celebrations might be better served in bolstering our readiness in the face of geopolitical threats. The readiness of our military forces is of utmost concern, especially with Russia and China taking increasingly aggressive stances abroad.

Even if it can be argued that the U.S. military should be inclusive and respectful, critics powerfully argue that the cost and focus required to host these events detract from the primary mission of our armed forces: defending our nation.

If the military is destined to recognize and celebrate diversity, that must come without compromising the focus, resources, or unity essential to our military’s operational readiness.