The Department of Defense’s chief diversity officer would get the boot under new legislation from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and nine other Republican senators.
The Restoring Military Focus Act would get rid of the chief diversity officer and any senior advisers for diversity, equity and inclusion, a move these senators say is needed to make sure the department stays focused on warfighting instead of “woke diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.”
“Our military should be focused on protecting our national security, not on promoting woke nonsense,” Rubio said this week. “The current direction we are heading in is dangerous. If we don’t reverse course, we risk jeopardizing our military strength, national interests and security.”
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“Americans expect the Department of Defense to focus on maintaining our military as a combat-ready force capable of defeating and killing our enemies,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, another sponsor. “Instead, the Biden administration has transformed the Pentagon into a laboratory for woke policies.”
Republicans have said that woke leadership at the Pentagon is a major reason why it is having so much difficultly recruiting new service members. This year, every service branch met its recruiting goals, but they did so by creating shortages in the reserve components.
“Young Americans join the military to learn how to defend our country, not learn about radical ideologies,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is also on the bill. “It’s no wonder our military is facing a recruiting crisis under the Biden administration.”
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In August, Rubio released a video that criticized the military for shifting its recruiting strategy from one that focused on giving recruits a chance to serve their nation to one that focuses on the diversity of recruits and the proper use of pronouns. One recruiting ad released was a cartoon about a girl with two moms who wanted to join the Army.
“Rather than making the case for American greatness and appealing to our patriotism, the military is just parroting woke nonsense,” Rubio said then. “It’s dumb, it doesn’t work, and it’s dangerous.”
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The positions of chief diversity officer and senior advisers for diversity and inclusion were created in the 2021 defense policy bill. “The Chief Diversity Officer shall be appointed from among persons who have an extensive management or business background and experience with diversity and inclusion,” that bill said.
Rubio’s bill is also sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., James Lankford, R-Okla., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.
In July, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and a handful of other Republicans introduced a comparable bill in the House, where a GOP majority next year could be enough to pass that language or include it in the next defense policy bill.