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May 11, 2023 | In The News

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Divisive And Racist’: GOP Rep Introduces Bill Aimed At Defunding The Military’s Diversity Efforts

Daily Caller – Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida introduced a bill Thursday aimed at stripping funding for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in the military that he told the Daily Caller News Foundation is contributing to the military’s recruiting crisis.

The “Eliminate DEI in the Military Act” would bar federal funding from going toward educational activities, programs and appointments in the Department of Defense, or any branch of the U.S. military or service academies, according to an advance copy of the bill obtained by the DCNF. Steube called the policies prioritizing racial and gender diversity “divisive and racist,” accusing the military of worsening recruitment and retention in a moment when the services are struggling to keep personnel. “The military’s sole focus should be on the safety and security of the American people, but under the Biden administration, our nation’s military has become engulfed in left wing propaganda. These so-called DEI programs are harming the recruitment and retention of military personnel,” Steube told the DCNF.

He cited a 2021 program first reported by the DCNF where the Air Force command responsible for training advanced pilots “clustered” racial minorities and female trainees into one class, dubbed “America’s Class,” to find out if doing so would improve graduation rates for the perceived underrepresented groups.

Classes that were previously structured on a first-come, first-served priority basis according to the number of months a student served in their unit were instead filled based on the gender and race of pilot candidates, a spokesperson for Air Education Training Command told the DCNF. Officers involved in the program alleged discrimination against white-male candidates.

A former Air Force pilot instructor warned that the program could sacrifice safety by prioritizing gender and race instead of performance in trying to fill the pilot corps.

“What message does that send to individuals who put in the time, but don’t check a DEI box?” Steube said.

The Air Force has expressed concern about the perceived lack of racial diversity among higher-level officers and specialty career fields.

Top officials in the Department of Defense and service branches deny that DEI programs are contributing to recruiting problems, citing a 2022 Army survey where a majority of potential recruits did not attribute “wokeness” as a reason for not joining the military.