A group of GOP senators are accusing the Pentagon of wasting taxpayer money on “woke” diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives rather than focusing on Russian aggression, Chinese belligerence and other threats, introducing a new bill that would abolish the post of chief diversity officer within the Defense Department.
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, said Thursday in a statement that the Restoring Military Focus Act would eliminate the position of CDO and block the Pentagon from using any taxpayer money to establish any similar post.
“Our military should be focused on protecting our national security, not on promoting woke nonsense. 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,” Mr. Rubio said.
GOP lawmakers have repeatedly clashed with top Pentagon officials, who argue that such diversity and inclusion initiatives are vital to preserving order and morale in a diverse military population.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, said Americans expect the Defense Department to focus on defeating the nation’s enemies, not on social engineering.
“Instead, the Biden administration has transformed the Pentagon into a laboratory for woke politics. The result is breathtakingly irresponsible and reckless,” Sen. Cruz said.
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A former Army officer, fellow co-sponsor Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, was deployed to Baghdad as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in May 2006. He said Americans join the military to help defend the nation, not to learn about “radical ideologies.”
“It’s no wonder our military is facing a recruiting crisis under the Biden administration,” Mr. Cotton said.
He has raised the issue before of mandatory diversity training within the military, calling it “divisive and un-American.” In September, he sent a letter to the superintendent of the Air Force Academy about allegations that cadets were forced to attend “diversity and inclusion sessions.”
“Cadets were reportedly instructed to refrain from using terms such as ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ or ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’ and instead use terms that ‘include all gender,’” Sen. Cotton wrote. “The Air Force Academy ought to teach future airmen to revere our nation’s traditions and values, not to have contempt for them.”
The Air Force Academy’s “increasing politicization” is damaging to the institution’s reputation and the reputation of the Air Force as a whole, Sen. Cotton said.
Rep. Chip Roy, Texas Republican, introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2021.