Republican GOP leaders and committee members on Armed Services vowed they’ll look for ways to slash “woke” spending from the defense budget and strengthen the military on Tuesday, hours before President Joe Biden’s landmark State of the Union speech.
Biden highlighted his efforts to strengthen the U.S. military and defend against a warlike and rising China Tuesday evening, but Republican members pushed back, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that politicization of the military and Biden’s latest handling of a Chinese spy balloon encroaching on U.S. sovereign territory displays weakness. Part of the GOP’s agenda will be ensuring the U.S. military grows more “lethal” and dissolving excess spending on “woke” priorities like green energy, transgender services and diversity programs, many said.
“Get rid of all the wokeness, first of all. Get rid of the wokeness, then we can start talking about how long it takes us to produce a weapon system,” freshman Republican Rep. Keith Self of Texas, who sits on the veterans affairs and foreign affairs committees and boasts a 25-year career in the Army, told the DCNF in an interview.
Wokeness in the military is “hard to put your finger on” Florida Republican Rep. Scott Franklin, former House Armed Services Committee member with 26 years in the Navy, admitted the DCNF. However, “I think it is absolutely a critical driver in our inability to meet our recruiting goals,” he added.
The Army fell 25% short of its recruiting goals for 2022. At the same time, military recruiters redirected focus away from traditional recruiting grounds toward urban areas, potentially alienating rural Americans who have historically filled out the military’s ranks, Franklin said, an analysis experts have previously shared with the DCNF.
“We’re sending a message to people, the base of support we’ve traditionally had for the military, that … they’re not welcome here. We do that at our peril,” Franklin said.
Congress authorized millions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs, green energy policies and research funding specifically targeted at universities that cater to minority groups in the latest defense spending bill for 2023, which also includes funding for the Department of Energy.
As Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy looks to cut spending in exchange for GOP support for his leadership, House members told the DCNF that “woke” provisions in the defense budget could be eliminated while preserving needed defense spending.
“Do I think defense is the place to focus? No.” GOP Oklahoma Rep. Stephanie Bice told the DCNF. “But is there money to be saved whether that’s flicking out some of the woke programs they’ve implemented across the service branches…?”
Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy introduced a bill in the House in January that would defund the positions of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Senior Advisor for Diversity and Inclusion in the DOD.
“We need to scrub everything out that is not increasing our lethality, that does not contribute to our lethality, and turn our budget into making the most nimble, the most powerful military,” Self told the DCNF.
Above image taken from DEI: Equality v. Equity video
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OH, UNITED STATES
Video by Christopher Decker
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
This video dissects the difference between equity and equality for the military civilian and active duty work force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Dec. 15, 2021. It supports the 88th Air Base Wing push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force video by Christopher Decker)
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