The U.S. Air Force is instructing its commanders to create a "safe space" in which recruits can partake in "healthy conversation" and "share perspectives" as part of what leaders are calling a "cultural shift" in the service.
The initiative, called "Airmen's Time," was created to advance the "well-being and development" of those serving in the Air Force, according to a copy of a memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, which was sent to "command teams and supervisors."
"The intent of Airmen's time is to create a safe space, be present, and ensure that our Air Force culture invites healthy conversation for every Airman…anytime, anywhere," the memo states, encouraging service members to get together and "share perspectives and life lessons, discuss what values guide us, or what is our team's purpose."
The move is part of an effort by the U.S. military under the Biden administration to alter internal culture. The Army, for instance, has mandated its soldiers go through training on gender identity and pronouns, the Free Beacon first reported in March. Republicans in Congress and some in the military have criticized these initiatives for pushing "woke" propaganda within the service.
"Building trust and belonging is never a one-time event—it is a daily commitment to those we serve," the memo states. "To further advance this cultural shift, leaders at every level are entrusted to prioritize time to elevate connection, growth, and enhance the well-being of individual Airmen while building unity within their teams."
Airmen's Time, the memo continues, "is a way of life—not a program. Care cannot be outsourced. Getting to know and see our Airmen beyond the uniform is how we build connection. It must be intentional at every level to create trust and belonging. During these moments, we will continue to be open, show consideration, value differences, and seek to understand multiple perspectives."
Ultimately, the Air Force is seeking to make the program "a part of what we do at the foundational level and a natural aspect of our Air Force way of life," according to the memo.
The program already appears to have been incorporated into the Air Force's schedule and training programs, according to materials accessible on its website. This includes its official eight-and-a-half-week basic training schedule, which factors in Airmen's Time alongside more traditional activities like physical training and flight drills.
Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass told Stars and Stripes the program "certainly isn't new—many units have been doing it for years." Rather, her memo "is meant as a call to action for our leaders to ensure we are devoting the time needed to help deliberately develop our Airmen."
The Pentagon would not comment on the memo.
James Carafano, an Army veteran who runs national security and defense policy programs at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, told the Free Beacon that he has "never seen any analysis from the Pentagon which demonstrably proves the training has value that improves the readiness and capabilities of the armed forces."
The federal government is "spending millions of dollars on programs that somebody just thinks is a good idea," Carafano said, adding that there is no evidence training of this nature benefits the force. "At the same time, we are taking service members away from their regular duties. This appears to be an initiative that is compromising on readiness for no commensurate benefit and indeed may risk hurting morale, unit cohesion, and individual performance."