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GOP senator unloads on Pentagon’s ‘obsession’ with fairness agenda: ‘Totem pole of grievances’

Sen. Eric Schmitt on Wednesday tore into Pentagon leaders for defending an agenda that stresses points like range and inclusion, which he warned is dividing warfighters and politicizing the world’s biggest army power.

“The offspring of id politics, which is extremely divisive, has now made its manner by means of DEI trainings in these branches,” Schmitt, R-Mo., stated at a Senate Armed Companies Committee listening to, referring to the Pentagon’s range, fairness and inclusion agenda. “It’s naive to imagine that this isn’t divisive amongst recruits or folks within the army.”

“Now we have heard from members of the army who’ve stated that they resent being subjected to this,” he added. “This totem pole of grievances, this oppressor vs. oppressed.”

Schmitt spoke after a handful of army witnesses downplayed complaints a couple of “woke” agenda on the Pentagon, which Republicans stated is contributing to the tough recruiting surroundings for all service branches.

“The Division of Protection (DOD) should put no less than as a lot effort into fixing the recruiting disaster because it has into different initiatives like extremism, range, fairness and inclusion and abortion,” stated Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the highest Republican on the committee. “These initiatives are at greatest a distraction. At worst, they dissuade younger folks from enlisting.”


Democrats and Biden administration witnesses rejected these GOP assertions and cited different elements, reminiscent of record-low unemployment that make it tougher to fill the volunteer ranks, rising weight problems charges and decrease take a look at scores which can be decreasing the variety of certified recruits, and a common lack of curiosity amongst youthful Individuals in serving.

Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., cited a Pentagon survey that stated solely 5% of respondents had been anxious about “woke” insurance policies within the army.

“Range and inclusion strengthen our army,” Reed stated. “By each measure, America’s army is extra deadly and prepared than it has ever been. It’s also extra various and inclusive than ever earlier than. And this isn’t a coincidence.”

However Schmitt and different Republicans rejected the concept that pursuing a social agenda someway results in extra lethality and stated the stream of social coverage dictates and extremism “stand-downs” are dividing service members and destroying the army’s functionality, not enhancing it.

“This obsession with the fairness agenda that you just all are defending as we speak with simply type of a phrase salad is divisive. I don’t know what ‘develop initiatives which have measurable end result metrics based mostly on fairness’ means,” Schmitt stated. “And by chasing this, it’s driving a wedge within the army.”


“Can anyone inform me what the metrics are for fairness? What’s it that we’re measuring?” he requested.

“For the Navy and Marine Corps, the final word measure of how we’re doing is our potential to discourage and struggle and win wars,” Underneath Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven replied. “And in shut session with each service management of the Navy and Marine Corps, we’ve heard that growing various, succesful groups is important to growing warfighting functionality.”

Schmitt replied by citing reviews from 2022 that Andersen Air Drive Base in Guam had launched a memo that urged service members to not use “him” and “her” pronouns.

“How does that assist us be a greater preventing power by not referring to a person as ‘him’ or ‘her’ in a memo?” Schmitt requested. “How does that assist us? How does that make us a extra deadly preventing power?”

Wicker argued on the listening to that the fixed drumbeat of DEI and extremism is incorrectly telling Individuals that the U.S. army is crammed with social cohesion issues, when it isn’t. And he stated that is successfully warning younger Individuals in opposition to signing up.


“They recommend to the American those that the army has an issue with range and extremism,” Wicker stated. “In reality, the army is the best civil rights program within the historical past of the world.”

Wicker stated the Biden administration’s struggle in opposition to extremism within the ranks was particularly troubling because the Pentagon itself later agreed that fewer than 100 service members throughout all branches exhibited doubtlessly troubling extremist behaviors or had connections to extremist teams. He stated the DOD additionally created a Protection Fairness Group that printed a “DEIA strategic plan,” however Wicker stated the army doesn’t present practically as a lot curiosity in fixing the recruiting drawback.

“I simply marvel: The place is identical urgency within the Division of Protection relating to the very actual recruiting disaster?” he requested. “The place is the recruiting strategic plan?”

“The nationwide media, and sadly some within the administration after Jan. 6, began trotting out this narrative that we’ve all these extremists within the army,” added Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. “The Washington Publish used to write down this about as soon as per week. By the way in which, it was ridiculous.”

“Don’t you assume that that impacts recruiting, that for the final 12 months we’ve been saying that we’ve all these ‘extremists’ within the army?” he requested the witnesses.

Undersecretary of the Military Gabe Camarillo stated he hasn’t seen “any proof” that this message has damage recruiting. However he and different witnesses agreed that there isn’t any rampant extremism within the army.

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