House and Senate Republicans Take a Buzzsaw to Wokeness in the Military

SAN DIEGO, CA JULY 16: Joseph Martinez,M, an active duty sailor in the Navy, prepares to march during the San Diego Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, July 16, 2011 in San Diego, California . Hundreds of active duty military personel -gay and straight, participated for the first time in the …
Sandy Huffaker/Getty

Republicans in the House and Senate Armed Services Committees took a buzzsaw to wokeness in the military this week, advancing defense bills that will cut down Biden administration’s efforts to push race and gender-based training and initiatives throughout the Department of Defense.

The bills, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), authorize all Pentagon spending and activities for the upcoming fiscal year, and is the primary vehicle for Congress to shape Pentagon policy. It is considered “must-pass” legislation and has passed for more than 60 years.

In the Republican-controlled House, the House Armed Services Committee passed an NDAA that took major steps in beating back wokeness that has flourished under the Biden administration.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Navy veteran and chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, included an amendment mandating the DOD to base personnel decisions — including accession, assignment, selection, and promotion — on merit, and banning the military from taking into account race and gender during recruiting.

“America’s military became the greatest fighting force in the history of the world by promoting excellence, embracing colorblind principles, and attracting our nation’s best and brightest,” Banks said in a statement.

“The Biden DoD’s indefensible race and gender-based treatment of servicemembers is making our military weaker and our nation less safe. Anti-woke legislators should continue to roll back the Biden administration’s radical attempts to deny Americans’ equal protection under the law.”

Banks also succeeded in including a provision to kill the Navy Digital Ambassador program, which relied on an active-duty sailor who was also a non-binary drag queen to help recruit sailors. He also succeeded in including a provision to see how Biden’s transgender policies have impacted troops.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a House Armed Services Committee member and leading figure exposing the Biden administration’s woke military policies, succeeded in including a provision to stop drag shows and drag queen story hours on military bases, which would codify into law a policy that Gaetz forced Pentagon leadership to make just last month.

Gaetz also succeeded in getting in a provision to eliminate the political position of DEI chief at the DOD, and require the DOD to report on how much time is spent on Critical Race Theory training.

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), a Green Beret colonel and chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Readiness, included provisions to ban taxpayer funding for Critical Race Theory at U.S. service academies, review DEI programs at the DOD, and set gender-neutral fitness standards for combat jobs in the U.S. Army.

Two GOP proposals, from Gaetz and Rep. Mark Alford (R-MO), would have gone further to halt the DEI agenda in its tracks — one that would eliminate DEI entirely and another that would cut the position of a inspector general for “diversity and inclusion and extremism,” but Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Mike Turner (R-OH) sided with Democrats to vote them down, 30-29, as reported by Breitbart News.

Over in the Senate, Air Force veteran and Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) succeeded in including his Merit Act, which redefines “equity” to “equal opportunity” in all DOD policies calling for “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Equal opportunity would mean allowing all troops the opportunity to compete for opportunities within the military, versus “equity,” which according to Critical Race Theory would mean allowing opportunities to troops solely based on race.

He also included a mandate for the DOD to take full accounting of the cost and scope of “previously opaque and unaccountable DEI programming across the Department,” according to a summary of the bill from Wicker’s office.

“The bill would redefine equity for the Pentagon simply as equal opportunity…It would ban any DOD affiliated institution from any training or instruction that would violate this merit based concept of equal opportunity,” Wicker said in a statement.

“I also thought to include language that would mandate a full accounting of DEI — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming across the department. It would make sure senior defense officials are not required to take time and effort promoting these toxic policies. I hope this initiative and others will protect the culture of personal achievement that makes our military great,” he added.

The House version also included a number of measures to support troops who opposed the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and those who were kicked out for refusing to take the vaccine.

Banks included provisions to: prohibit the Pentagon from punishing troops based solely on their vaccination status and let troops who were kicked out for refusing the vaccine reenter service; allow discharged troops to change their reason for discharge and be able to reenter; and set up a process to reinstate discharged troops at their prior rank and require the DOD to contact every service member discharged for possible reinstatement.

The two bills — which were passed on a bipartisan basis — now advance to the House and Senate floor, and when passed, will be reconciled, voted on again in each chamber, and sent to the president for signature.

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