Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, will introduce a bill Tuesday aimed at preserving “merit and performance” as important metrics for opportunity in the military in response to the Joe Biden administration’s push to emphasize gender and race in promotions and opportunities, Breitbart News has exclusively learned.
Specifically, the bill, titled the “Military Merit, Fairness, and Equality Act of 2023,” would ban the Department of Defense (DOD) from forcing troops, their family members, and civilian employees to “personally affirm, adopt, adhere to the tenet that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.”
“The tenets of critical race theory are antithetical to the merit-based, all-volunteer, military that has served the country with great distinction for the last 50 years,” the bill states. “All Department of Defense personnel actions, including accessions, promotions, assignments and training, shall be based exclusively on individual merit and demonstrated performance.”
The bill is aimed at undoing the Biden administration’s continuing efforts to embed the critical race theory tenets of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) throughout the DOD.
“The toxic, so-called ‘equity’ agenda at the Department of Defense damages readiness and falsely suggests that our military has a problem with diversity,” Wicker said in a statement obtained by Breitbart News. He added:
My legislation would stop this overreaching social policy at its source and protect the values of merit and equal opportunity that have made our military the most powerful in the world. The Pentagon must focus on deterrence over division.
The Biden administration has, across the federal bureaucracy, pursued policies based on “equity” versus “equality.” At the DOD, pursuing “equity” means, for example, distributing opportunities in order to affect a certain outcome, such as a desired racial quota, versus distributing opportunities based on merit and ensuring that all troops have the equal opportunity to compete for them regardless of race.
In a Senate speech earlier this year, Wicker touted the existing diversity of the military and blasted the Biden administration’s focus on race:
The U.S. military is the largest and most diverse public institution in the country. For decades, it has been an engine of economic and social mobility and a place for Americans of all stripes to come together in support of a common mission. From the youngest private to the most senior general, our military is composed of Americans from every possible background you can imagine. We should celebrate that fact.
Sadly, this is not the operating mentality of the leadership at today’s Pentagon. The Department of the Defense’s new “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan” aims to, and I quote, “ensure equitable career progression for military personnel by eliminating promotion and retention barriers.”
Mr. President, by adding “equity,” rather than equal opportunity, to the military promotion process, the Biden Administration is judging the selection of military leaders not on the content of their character, but on whether or not an individual happens to be a member of one demographic group or another.
Simply put, this amounts to quotas over merit.
This equity approach to promotions and assignments takes a sledgehammer to the foundation of the military. And worse, it creates divisions that put our men and women in uniform at risk. It pits them against each other based on factors they cannot control.
Last year, Wicker co-sponsored the “Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act” with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), which would ban critical race theory in the military.