Air Force leadership on the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada approved the drag show in celebration of Pride Month, but Pentagon top brass pulled the plug.
Two defense officials and a US official said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told the Air Force that funding the show was outside the scope of the Defense Department.
The same officials said Milley appeared visibly angry when he was informed about the decision to host the drag show on base.
He and Austin have spoken out against them during House Armed Services Committee hearings, where they have been questioned about drag queen story hours taking place on US bases around the world.
Milley claimed he did not know such events were happening.
“I’d like to take a look at those because I don’t agree with those,” Milley said at the time.
“Drag queen story hours is not something that the Department funds,” Austin unequivocally told the committee.
When asked about the drag show planned for Nellis, deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh responded, “As Secretary Austin has said, the DOD will not host drag events at U.S. military installations or facilities. Hosting these types of events in federally funded facilities is not a suitable use of DOD resources.”
The event was reportedly to be hosted in partnership with a private organization. A source familiar with the matter said the Nellis commander informed that group that its plans would be changing.
“Consistent with Secretary Austin’s congressional testimony, the Air Force will not host drag events at its installations or facilities. Commanders have been directed to either cancel or relocate these events to an off-base location,” an Air Force official said.
Nellis AFB hosted a Pride Month drag show in 2021, which it deemed “Drag-u-Nellis”. In a statement, a spokesperson for the base said the event was intended to promote inclusivity and diversity.Pentagon Shuts Down Air Force Base Drag Show