FY23 National Defense Authorization Act

The Heritage Foundation has issued a report analyzing the FY23 NDAA:

The final version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) improves military readiness, eliminates the vaccine mandate for service members, and removes many “woke” requests from earlier versions, though some bad policies—such as watered-down bans on Chinese semiconductors—remain. Lawmakers should focus on warfighting and lethality and reject issues unrelated to those areas. Overall, the final NDAA is a bill that conservatives can support. This Factsheet presents the wins and losses. . . .

WINS (include):

Vaccine Mandate Lifted. The NDAA includes a provision lifting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members. This is prudent when military recruiting is facing historic challenges. It does not help those who were already dismissed for refusing the vaccine.

Removal of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) and “Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity” (SOGI) Language. Earlier versions of the NDAA included several provisions requiring reports on personal characteristics unrelated to professional competence. Most of these “woke” initiatives have been removed.

No Draft for Women. The final NDAA does not include the Senate provision expanding the Selective Service to require that women register for it. This is a conservative win. Requiring women to register for the draft would be a misguided expansion.

LOSSES (include):

Remaining DEI and SOGI Language. There remains a significant and untoward focus on immutable characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, and sex, with numerous requirements for reports, plans, and personnel makeup throughout the legislation. This divisive and unseemly obsession with the most ideologically left-wing interpretations of diversity divides the federal workforce and military—and it distracts from mission and warfighting in the midst of a recruiting crisis and unprecedented global threat environment. Examples of this language can be found in sections 11249, 6817, 9401, 9402, and 10103.

US Senate Committee on Armed Services Agreement Executive Summary (pdf)

House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Executive Summary (pdf)

James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (pdf)

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall rescind  the mandate that members of the Armed Forces be vaccinated against COVID-19 pursuant to the memorandum 3 dated August 24, 2021, regarding ‘‘Mandatory Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination of Department of Defense Service Members’’.

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