Guest post by Jerrry Sorrow
LTG Williams promotion to a 4-star command is astonishing for a number of reasons. It seems to be a quintessential example of allowing the DEI ( Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) dogma to infect military effectiveness.
First, a few facts for context
General Officer (GO) selection boards are closed.
There are currently 61 Army 3 star and 16 Army 4 star authorized billets. Many of them are technical specialty and joint command assignments – e.g. Joint Staff, Inspector General, Army Surgeon etc.
The CG, US Army Europe/Africa, is one of 6 Major 4 star troop commands. Europe/Africa is squarely in the middle of arguably the most serious military, economic and political environment the US has encountered in decades and therefore of critical importance.
Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearings to consider promotions are routinely open to the public to allow for input and open discussion. This was the case for the reappointment to General of General Cavoli, current CG, US Army Europe/Africa, to CG US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, on May 26, 2022.
LTG Williams nomination on 6/3/22 to replace Cavoli’s at Army Europe/Africa was considered in a closed session, which was scheduled on 6/15/22 purportedly as the final markup of the 2023 National Defense Authorization. There were no public hearings to allow SASC members to examine Williams qualifications or record of performance during his 6 years as a LTG.
More relevant background Information
Williams served as Superintendent at West Point from 2018 to 2022. Since 1981, every Superintendent has acknowledged that the assignment is terminal and 5 years in length. On average, three star assignments are 3 years in duration. All superintendents since General Goodpaster (who was recalled from retirement, to shepherd the Academy through another highly visible cheating scandal in 1976) have honorably fulfilled that commitment and retired; one was removed for cause and one retired early.
Williams was the Army’s oldest, 3 star in a non-specialty assignment. He is now 5 or 6 years older than the other 6 Operating Commanding Generals in the US Army.
Williams was promoted to LTG in June, 2016, as he took command of the Allied Land Command (a NATO advisory and coordination roll). He had no operating troop command experience as a LTG.
Normally, GOs retire after 40 years of service; Williams reaches 40 in 2023. Depending on the specific terms of his assignment, a special waiver was required to delineate the unique and exigent circumstances which required Williams’ skill set, compared to other active LTGs. The waiver was initiated and/or signed by some combination of: Secretary of Defense Austin; Secretary of the Army Wormuth; Army Chief of Staff McConville and possibly President Biden.
Every press release since Williams was elevated in 2016 has specifically referred to his race as a matter of significance.
Sec Def Austin has stated in Congressional testimony that extremism and white supremacists exist within DOD. One of his first directives was a “stand down order” affecting all of DOD personnel – civilian and military – to assess and root out extremists. This included West Point.
General Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has supported all of Austin’s ideas and actions in these regards during numerous open forum oral and written statements.
Recently released DOD/USMA documents show clearly that CRT and DEI indoctrination are included in the USMA curriculum. USAF Professors have also expressly stated that CRT is part of their curriculum. Vice Admiral Buck opined in 2020, using the lexicon of CRT: “diversity, equity, and inclusion are more vital than ever to our mission here at the Naval Academy”.
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Williams’ 4 years as Superintendent have been less than meritorious:
LTG Williams continually denied: (1) the promotion of CRT training at West Point; (2) the existence of anti-white supremacy/extremist training for cadets; and (3) that he did use biased standards of equality, equity and inclusion in making honor code discretion decisions. These assertions are either dissembling or prevarication.
A major cheating scandal, involving at least 70 cadets was grossly mishandled by Williams. Rather than completing a thorough investigation within the prescribed 90 day period, it dragged on for over 300. He allowed a number of football players, identified as cheaters, to represent the Academy in the 2020 regular and post season games. This is contrary to all precedent and a decision uniquely and solely limited to the USMA Superintendent.
He used the Willful Admissions element of the Cadet Code, introduced in 2015, and his sole authority over discretionary punishment to excuse at least 50 cadet honor code violators.
In April, 2021, he canceled, without explanation, the willful program, coincident with his official termination of the 2020 cheating investigation.
No tolerance violations were reported during the 2020-2021 investigation. In prior cheating scandals, ’51, 65 and ’76, numerous tolerance violations were revealed. In fact, the Borman commission, established by Army Secretary Hoffman in 1976 to investigate that scandal, was in fact, primarily driven by the tolerance problem. This outcome under Williams’ watch is highly improbable.
He supported biased programs, research centers and educational degree sequences within the Cadet curriculum. Biased and indoctrination type programs, especially in the Law, English, Behavioral/Leadership and Social Sciences Departments have been identified.
During an April, 2022 graduate class reunion, he made several untruthful and evasive statements to the assembled graduates regarding the honor code. He also denied that a progressive bias existed within non STEM course sequences and that the Academy speakers program include only progressive leftists. Each of these assertions has been shown to be false.
His most egregious and obvious prevarication was that he was unaware of an honor violation involving a cadet theft which was caught on tape. Williams allowed the cadet, a former football player, to graduate and be commissioned. His professed lack of knowledge is simply implausible: every honor violation punishment, particularly discretion ( non-expulsion) is solely and uniquely reserved to the Superintendent.
Williams, subsequent to ending the investigation, removed from public access, the USMA document controlling the honor system, USCC PAM 15-1: The Cadet Honor Code, System and Committee Procedures. This was again an unexpected and troubling directive, never before effected; it exemplifies the lack of honesty and transparency which Williams has demonstrated during his Academy assignment.
I leave readers to draw their own conclusions about the motivation, viability and wisdom of this promotion.
My personal view:
Williams term as USMA Superintendent was neither meritorious nor transparent.
There are 6 serving LTGs of Operating Forces and 3 Service Component Command, each with superior experience and records as compared to Williams. Any one of them deserved this promotion based on merit. As the Russia/Ukraine situation worsens and the possibility of direct hostility escalates, selections based on equity, diversity and inclusion should never be allowed to reduce military effectiveness.
USMA class of 1968