The Biden administration on Monday slammed the Republican-controlled House’s version of 2024 National Defense Authorization Act for requiring military personnel decisions to be based on merit and not race or gender, among other provisions.
“The Administration strongly opposes the House’s sweeping attempts…to eliminate the Department’s longstanding [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access] efforts and related initiatives to promote a cohesive and inclusive force,” the Biden administration said in a Statement of Administration Policy.
The House’s NDAA contains a number of Republican-authored provisions to roll back the Biden administration’s efforts to push Marxist-based Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives throughout the entire Department of Defense establishment, including the military.
It also contains a number of Republican-backed provisions to give troops kicked out over following the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandate a path back into the military with backpay.
The Biden administration specifically said it opposed Section 364, which would prohibit the defense secretary from appointing or employing a military or civilian employee whose duties include diversity, equity, and inclusion with a rank or grade above O-2 (military) or GS-10 (civilian).
It also said it opposed Section 523, which required the Department of Defense to issue policy that all military accessions, assignments, selections, or promotions must adhere to merit-based principles and that quotas are prohibited.
Those particular provisions were authored by Navy veteran and Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN), who told Breitbart News in a statement:
It’s incredibly dangerous that the Biden administration is opposed to merit based promotions. When our service members are in life or death situations, we need the best leaders, period.
The Biden administration also said in its statement that it opposed two other of Banks’ provisions, Sections 525 and 526.
Section 525 would prohibit punishment of service members based solely on refusal to receive COVID-19 vaccines and authorizes the reinstatement of individuals discharged for vaccine refusal.
Section 526 directs the military services’ Boards of Correction to prioritize requests to review the narrative reasons of discharge and re-entry codes of veterans for service members discharged for refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Biden administration said it opposed those provisions, and others related to COVID-19, because they set “a dangerous precedent that not following lawful orders is an option for service members, which will be deleterious to good order and discipline as well as unit cohesion.”
The administration argued that the language would prevent the defense secretary from taking “appropriate action in the future should a new strain of COVID-19 again require vaccination for force health protection.”
It argued that COVID-19 cases should not be prioritized at the Boards of Corrections, arguing that there were more “pressing” issues, such as “military sexual trauma, PTSD related to military service, and matters related to pay and benefits.”
The Biden administration argued that diversity gave the DOD a “strategic advantage”:
DoD’s strategic advantage in a complex global security environment is the diverse and dynamic talent pool from which we draw. We rely on diverse perspectives, experiences, and skillsets to remain a global leader, deter war, and keep our nation secure.
Moreover, DoD is committed to developing and maintaining a dignified, respectful, and safe workplace. 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.
The House’s bill was passed by the House Armed Services Committee last month on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis of 58-1, with only Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) opposing.
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