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Pentagon leaders testily defend efforts on racism, extremism

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley testifies before a Senate Appropriations...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Thursday, June 17, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)(Evelyn Hockstein | AP / Evelyn Hockstein)
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Pentagon leaders are defending the military’s approach to addressing racism and extremism and pushing back against accusations by Republican lawmakers that the effort is creating division and hurting morale.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin got into a testy exchange with Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Wednesday, while Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, angrily responded to statements by Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida about West Point instruction on racism.

Milley said he was offended by the congressman’s suggestion that officers are acting inappropriately by seeking to expose future military leaders to a variety of ideas and ways of thinking.

7 News note: both Austin and Milley are former 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum commanders.

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