House Armed Services Subcommittee for Military Personnel Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN) in a recent exclusive interview with Breitbart News blasted the Army for not providing the actual data for a survey it published last month, that Army officials claim shows that wokeness is not affecting recruiting.
“The Army is hiding behind some report that they won’t even release the methodology behind that report, that says that wokeness isn’t affecting recruitment in the military, but they can’t prove it,” he said.
“They don’t want to release it because they know the methodology is faulty,” he said.
Banks said if the Army does not release that data, Republicans would use the yearly defense bill that authorizes the Pentagon’s budget, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, to force the service to do so.
The survey, conducted by the service’s own Army Enterprise Marketing Office, was based on potential recruits between the ages of 16 and 28, according to the summary.
Surveys intended to understand the Army's recruiting problems found that young people don't see it as a safe place or good career path. Army leaders said few were deterred by “wokeness,” and that concerns about discrimination were seen as a bigger issue. https://t.co/ziSJbwEQGT
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 12, 2023
It listed 16 top barriers to service in the Army. The summary showed that the top three barriers were, “I’d be putting the rest of my life on hold,” “Women and racial or ethnic minorities are discriminated against in the Army,” and “I don’t trust military leadership based on the way they’ve handled recent events or missions.”
Army officials argued at recent hearings, including one held by Banks on Thursday, that this survey showed that progressive policies pushed by the Biden administration were not causing the Army to miss its recruiting goals, which it did by 25 percent last year, and is expected to miss again this year.
Banks has requested the data the summary is based on, but the Army has not provided it to him, citing privacy issues of those they surveyed. Their refusal to provide the information prompted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), an Army veteran, to press Pentagon officials at a separate hearing.
However, the summary said the ninth top barrier was that “the military is placing too much emphasis on ‘wokeness’ — in other words, diversity/equity, training, marginalizing those with conservative views, etc.”
The sixth top barrier was related to not wanting to get a coronavirus vaccine, which the Biden administration had mandated and was forced to roll back by Republicans. The mandate was overwhelmingly supported by the left.
Republicans also queried during hearings whether the Biden administration’s focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was actually causing young people to think what the survey listed as the second top barrier, that “women and racial or ethnic minorities are discriminated against in the Army.”
However, Army officials insisted that there was no evidence that the Biden administration’s policies — including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s military-wide stand-down to discuss extremism in the military — had anything to do with that answer.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), who serves as a Marine reserve colonel, grilled Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo at a hearing on Wednesday that focused on the military’s recruitment struggles, but he and other military service leaders denied that the Pentagon’s focus on extremism had anything to do with it.