A commander of a U.S. Space Force unit tasked with detecting ballistic missile launches has been fired for comments made during a podcast promoting his new book, which claims Marxist ideologies are becoming prevalent in the United States military.
Lt Col. Matthew Lohmeier, commander of 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, was relieved from his post Friday by Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, the head of Space Operations Command, over a loss of confidence in his ability to lead, Military.com has exclusively learned.
"This decision was based on public comments made by Lt. Col. Lohmeier in a recent podcast," a Space Force spokesperson said in an email. "Lt. Gen. Whiting has initiated a Command Directed Investigation on whether these comments constituted prohibited partisan political activity."
Lohmeier's temporary assignment in the wake of his removal was not immediately clear.
Earlier this month, Lohmeier, a former instructor and fighter pilot who transferred into the Space Force, self-published a book titled "Irresistible Revolution: Marxism's Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military."
"Irresistible Revolution is a timely and bold contribution from an active-duty Space Force lieutenant colonel who sees the impact of a neo-Marxist agenda at the ground level within our armed forces," a description of the book reads.
Lohmeier sat down last week with L. Todd Wood of the podcast "Information Operation," hosted by Creative Destruction, or CD, Media, to promote the book. He spoke about U.S. institutions, including universities, media and federal agencies including the military, that he said are increasingly adopting leftist practices. These practices -- such as diversity and inclusion training -- are the systemic cause for the divisive climate across America today, he said.
From his perspective as a commander, Lohmeier said he didn't seek to criticize any particular senior leader or publicly identify troops within the book. Rather, he said, he focused on the policies service members now have to adhere to to align with certain agendas "that are now affecting our culture."
Regarding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, he said, "I don't demonize the man, but I want to make it clear to both him and every service member this [diversity and inclusion] agenda, it will divide us, it will not unify us."
Austin on Feb. 5 ordered all military services to observe one-day stand-down on extremism in the ranks. As part of his stand-down, Lohmeier said, he was given a booklet that cited the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol as an example of extremism, but did not mention the civil disobedience and destruction of property that took place following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last May.
He also took issue with "the Pentagon spokesperson," seeming to allude to Press Secretary John Kirby. Lohmeier claimed Kirby said "there are too many white pilots," amid an ever-increasing pilot shortage.
"If you want to provide that kind of messaging to your already struggling pilot force, you can already expect to see further retention problems," he said.
In a statement Friday, Kirby denied ever saying such a thing about a surplus of white pilots, and pointed to Austin's comments made last week during his first press conference about the importance of increased diversity programs.
"This department has an open door to any qualified American who wants to serve," the defense secretary said May 6. "Diversity throughout the force is a source of strength. We can't afford to deprive ourselves of the talents and the voices of the full range of a nation that we defend."
Lohmeier told Military.com he had consulted with his base public affairs and legal counsel about his plans to publish a book and its contents.
"I was apprised of the option to have my book reviewed at the Pentagon's prepublication and security review prior to release, but was also informed that it was not required," Lohmeier said in an email.
"My intent never has been to engage in partisan politics. I have written a book about a particular political ideology (Marxism) in the hope that our Defense Department might return to being politically non-partisan in the future as it has honorably done throughout history," he said.
The book is available on Amazon, on Lohmeier's website and Barnes & Noble.
The book ranked No. 2 under Amazon's "Military Policy" section this week.
Promoting His Book While on Active-Duty
Prior to transferring into space operations, specifically space-based missile warning, Lohmeier spent over 14 years in the Air Force. His Air Force career included instructor pilot training on the T-38 Talon jet and time flying the F-15C Eagle, according to biographical information listed on his book cover. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006.
He moved into the Space Force in October 2020. The following month, then-President Donald Trump called Lohmeier and other members of the Space Force for the branch's first Thanksgiving holiday.
Lohmeier told Wood, the podcast host, that the beginning chapters of his book explore the history and foundation of the United States and how critical race theory -- a study of how race and racism impact or are impacted by social and economic power structures and institutions -- plays a role.
"The diversity, inclusion and equity industry and the trainings we are receiving in the military ... is rooted in critical race theory, which is rooted in Marxism," Lohmeier said, adding it should be seen as a warning sign.
In the segment, Lohmeier said his book is not political, and is meant to alert readers to the increasing politicization of today's armed forces, some of which he said he'd seen or experienced firsthand.
There are Defense Department policies that spell out all the nuanced do's and don'ts surrounding politics or political discourse for active-duty service members, said Jim Golby, a senior fellow at Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in civil-military relations and military strategy.
For a self-published work, policies that may apply include DoD Directive 1344.10 and associated guidelines discussing political activity in uniform. According to the services' standards, personnel may express their views freely, but they are still expected to uphold their branch's core values both on and off duty.
"Those are fairly broad and would not prevent publication, but might impose some minor limitations on content," Golby said Friday. Also, policies associated with a service member's security clearance or policy-related access, are usually covered by an Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or a clearance read-in agreement, Golby said.
The Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review, for example, requires all current, former, and retired Defense Department employees, contractors, and military service members -- whether active or reserve -- who have had access to DoD information, facilities, or who signed an NDA to "submit DoD information intended for public release to the appropriate office for review and clearance."
DoD information can include "any work that relates to military matters, national security issues, or subjects of significant concern to the Department of Defense in general, to include fictional novels, stories and biographical accounts of operational deployments and wartime experiences," according to the office.
Subject matters about hobby-like activities, such as cooking, sports, gardening, crafts, artwork, are unlikely to be reviewed pre publication since it is not associated with an author's work with the Pentagon.
Still, "the line on what is a 'military matter' or 'subject of significant concern' is not entirely clear, and likely only comes into play if someone is discussing personal experiences in the military and not outside research or personal political opinions," Golby added. "And again, that is primarily related to sensitive positions where you have access to classified or sensitive information."
'We Don't Have a Voice Anymore'
While a major, Lohmeier attended the Air Command and Staff College, where he published "The Better Mind of Space." The paper explores the U.S. military's role in space beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit.
In the "Information Operation" podcast, Lohmeier said his fascination with Marxism began after that, when he was pursuing his second master's degree in philosophy in military strategy at Air University's School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.
"All my interactions with senior leaders in the Air Force and in the Space Force have been very positive; they care a great deal about their people [and] the lethality of the force," Lohmeier said during the 34-minute interview.
However, leaders may be afraid if they don't get on board with diversity training, they will face scrutiny, "or might not get promoted," he said, adding that liberal ideas are welcomed whereas ideas from more conservative voices are criticized or silenced.
Lohmeier advised any new service member, from enlisted to officer, to reject critical race theory if they see it being taught in the ranks, because it too is a form of extremism by the definitions outlined in DoD Instruction 1325.06, "Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces."
Golby, an Army veteran, said Lohmeier's advice to the junior ranks potentially undermines good order and discipline, or DoD policies aimed toward diversity and inclusion. "Or maybe both," he said.
Lohmeier told Wood he has received many messages of support from active-duty members on the book's release.
"[They're saying], 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking up -- because we don't have a voice anymore," he said.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify who Lohmeier consulted with ahead of publishing his book. It's not known if he consulted his chain of command.
-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at Oriana.Pawlyk@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @oriana0214.