- US Navy selects non-binary active-duty sailor Joshua Kelley as a Digital Ambassador
- The appointment is part of a pilot program aimed at attracting diverse talent and addressing recruitment challenges
- Kelley, also known as Harpy Daniels, shares their drag experience and advocates for inclusivity in the Navy
In a bid to address the ongoing recruitment crisis and promote diversity, the US Navy has appointed Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, an active-duty drag queen who identifies as non-binary, as the first of five Navy Digital Ambassadors.
The pilot program, which ran from October to March, sought to explore the digital environment as a means of reaching a wide range of potential candidates, as the Navy currently faces its most challenging recruiting environment since the start of the all-volunteer force.
Kelley, who performs under the stage name Harpy Daniels, has used platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to share their journey, explaining how they began performing onboard and advocating for those who have been oppressed in the service for years.
Kelley has been involved in drag since 2013 and started performing while deployed on the USS Ronald Reagan, where their performance helped boost crew morale and even saved a fellow sailor’s life.
The Digital Ambassador program is part of the Navy’s larger efforts to expand its size to 347,000 members by 2024, up from the current 341,736 members serving in fiscal year 2023.
As a part of the recent diversity, equity, and inclusion policy updates, the Navy is committed to recruiting and retaining personnel by fostering an inclusive culture, ensuring they feel included and connected to their mission and leaders.
The Navy’s appointment of Kelley as a Digital Ambassador highlights the importance of embracing diversity and inclusivity within the military, as well as the potential impact of digital platforms in reaching new audiences and addressing recruitment challenges.
I often find myself questioning the motives and methods of certain decisions made by the government and the military. The recent appointment of active-duty drag queen Joshua Kelley, also known as Harpy Daniels, as a Navy Digital Ambassador is one such decision that has caught my attention.
In an age where the military faces numerous challenges, both domestically and internationally, it is important to maintain focus on the core principles that have long served as the backbone of our nation’s defense.
Does this help the military’s primary purpose: to protect and defend our country and its citizen?
The Digital Ambassador program, which Kelley participated in, is designed to reach a wider range of potential recruits through the use of digital platforms.
While this strategy may succeed in attracting diverse talent, we must also ask ourselves whether these efforts are genuinely addressing the root cause of the Navy’s recruitment challenges.
Are we losing sight of the importance of discipline, dedication, and sacrifice that have long been the hallmarks of our military?
I believe that the Navy must ensure that our military remains an institution that prioritizes national security and military preparedness above all else. Our Navy is here to protect us from threats not create an all inclusive drag cabaret.