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GOP Aims to Eliminate ‘Woke’ Programs from Pentagon Budget

House Republicans are gearing up to make a bold move during the House Armed Services Committee meeting on June 21. They plan to support three amendments that call for the Pentagon to audit and eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training programs. These amendments are part of the proposed $874.2 billion fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (FY24 NDAA).

Rep. Mark Alford (R-Mo.) announced on Fox Business’s ‘Mornings With Maria’ that he would sponsor these amendments. This confirms earlier reports that a “defund DEI” initiative would be introduced during the first public hearing on the defense budget. The amendments, which have not been formally filed yet, aim to restrict the use of funds for the Pentagon’s Countering Extremism Working Group, freeze salary and operational monies for a deputy inspector general position focused on diversity and inclusion, and mandate an audit assessment of staffing within the Pentagon’s DEI office.

Conservatives have long criticized DEI training in the military, arguing that it promotes political correctness and harms morale. Their concerns have been amplified by a series of executive orders issued by President Joe Biden, which revoked previous restrictions on DEI-related training and lifted the ban on transgender people enlisting in the military. These actions have further fueled the debate surrounding DEI programs and their impact on force readiness.

Two Years of Mounting Angst

Republicans have been increasingly vocal about their opposition to DEI training, especially as they regained a narrow House majority in the 2022 midterms. They argue that negative publicity surrounding these programs has contributed to significant recruiting shortfalls in the military. They point to incidents like the U.S. Navy’s promotion of a petty officer who moonlights as a drag queen as evidence of a disconnect between marketing and potential recruits.

Rep. Alford believes that eliminating DEI programs and the “unnecessary extremism working group” is crucial for the military. He argues that these initiatives waste resources and hinder recruitment and retention efforts. Similar amendments have been proposed in the ‘Warrior Act,’ co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) and Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.). This act aims to prevent further politicization of the Department of Defense and improve military readiness.

Amendments Encoded in Proposed ‘Warrior Act’

The amendments supported by House Republicans align with the provisions outlined in the ‘Warrior Act.’ These include a hiring freeze of Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity personnel, an audit of DEI programs to assess their costs and effectiveness, and a review of the time spent on these programs by service members. The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that nearly six million hours and about $1 million were dedicated to DEI training in 2021.

During a House hearing, Jeremy Hunt, chair of Veterans on Duty, Inc., criticized the DEI program for subjecting service members to lengthy training sessions without sufficient evidence of their effectiveness. He highlighted the significant financial resources allocated to these programs, with some DEI bureaucrats earning salaries of $200,000 per year.

Rep. Waltz filed the ‘Warrior Act’ after receiving numerous complaints from military personnel about the divisive nature of DEI training and the time wasted on these programs. As the first Green Beret ever elected to the House, Waltz brings a unique perspective to the discussion.



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