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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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November 21, 2023

     Race should not play a part in military or any other promotions.  The White House has come out against a provision in the annual defense spending bill that would require the military to base promotion decisions on who is the best candidate for the job, regardless of their race.

     The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) included the merit clause on a list of eight that are opposed by the administration and would reverse many of the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) policies Biden forced on all federal agencies just hours after taking office.  “The administration strongly opposes the House’s sweeping attempts to eliminate the [Defense Department’s] longstanding DEIA efforts and related initiatives to promote a cohesive and inclusive force,” OMB wrote.  “DoD’s strategic advantage in a complex global security environment is the diverse and dynamic talent pool from which we draw,” it added.

     Other GOP-proposed provisions the White House rebuffed include bans on funding for critical race theory and drag shows, eliminating the position of the Pentagon’s DEI chief and blocking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin from “appointing or employing a military or civilian employee whose duties include diversity, equity, and inclusion” to a senior-level position.

     Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who wrote both the merit and DEI pay limit provisions, told The Post that he “consider[s] the White House’s opposition to my amendments a badge of honor.”  “Wokeness is a cancer that will destroy our military from the inside out if we don’t stop it,” Banks said.  But the merit provision, unlike some of the other provisions, is not explicitly anti-DEIA.  It would simply require the Pentagon to make all military hiring, assignment, selection and promotion decisions “on the basis of merit in order to advance those individuals who exhibit the talent and abilities necessary to promote the national security of the United States,” according to the draft bill, which sets annual defense spending and policy priorities. 

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