The Biden Administration has publicly voiced its opposition to a measure in the annual defense spending bill that would mandate promotions based on merit and forbid promotions based on race.
As the New York Post reports, the provision in question is one of eight measures in the overall proposal that was officially opposed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as it would essentially undo many of the pro-DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) initiatives that the Biden Administration has been pushing for since first taking power.
“A candidate shall be evaluated on the bases of qualifications, performance, integrity, fitness, training and conduct,” the proposed rule reads. “No determination may be based on favoritism or nepotism; and no quota may be used.”
“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 in its response. “DoD’s strategic advantage in a complex global security environment is the diverse and dynamic talent pool from which we draw.”
Other proposals by House Republicans that drew the White House’s ire include a ban on funding for the teaching of critical race theory (CRT), a ban on performing drag shows in the military, and outright eliminating the newly-created position of DEI Chief at the Pentagon. Another measure would forbid Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin from “appointing or employing a military or civilian employee whose duties include diversity, equity, and inclusion” to any high-ranking position.
Congressman Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the member who wrote two of the provisions in question, including the merit proposal, said that he “considers 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,” said Banks, who is currently running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Indiana next year
The White House voiced its concern that a focus on merit would result in fewer minorities being promoted through the ranks of the military. Biden’s OMB stated that it considers the military’s strength to not be in the skill of its members regardless of race, but rather, the inclusion of “diverse perspectives, experiences, and skillsets,” in order to “remain a global leader, deter war, and keep our nation secure.”
“Legislation that reduces DoD’s ability to create a positive work environment and fully leverage the best our nation has to offer puts the department at a strategic disadvantage,” OMB added, providing no evidence to back up the claim that less diversity actively harms the military.