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Pentagon preparing for investigations by House GOP

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III during a virtual meeting with 26 different military and veteran service organizations the Pentagon, May 5, 2021 (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)
January 26, 2023

According to a senior defense official, Pentagon officials are preparing for upcoming GOP-led investigations into accusations of promoting “woke” military policies, failure at the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and countless other matters under investigation. 

In a report from CNN, House Republicans have long signaled their intent to launch a series of probes if and when they gained back the majority. Last November, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee released a 1,000-page report on their inquiries into various DOJ and FBI investigations. GOP lawmakers claim that the DOJ and FBI are becoming politicized. 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, after a historic win for House speaker, suggested the Pentagon would come under increased scrutiny, commenting, “We will hold the swamp accountable, from the withdrawal of Afghanistan, to the origins of covid and to the weaponization of the FBI.”

When pressed on the issue of the probes, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said that the Defense Department “respects Congress’s important oversight role and as always will continue to work closely with Congress and respond appropriately to legitimate congressional inquiries.”

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Since August 2021, the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a top investigative target and concern for Republican lawmakers. Next in line to take over as the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, told CNN that the Republican majority will “continue to demand answers to why the withdrawal from Afghanistan was such a disaster.” 

McCaul added, “The American people deserve transparency from this administration, especially when it comes to national security, and we will work to deliver that to them.” 

GOP lawmakers will also draw attention and criticisms at perceived “woke military” policies. 

At the annual Association of the US Army meeting in Washington, DC, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said that the Army needs to stay “out of the culture wars” because “we have got to be able to have a broad appeal.”

Wormuth further added, “When only 9% of kids are interested in serving, we have got to make sure that we are careful about not alienating wide swaths of the American public to the Army,”

Increased and more transparent oversight of U.S. aid to Ukraine is also a major concern for Republicans. 

The Covid-19 vaccine mandate for military members is also still a top Republican concern, even after the repeal of the mandate in the new National Defense Authorization Act. Republicans are claiming that the required vaccine mandate had a harmful and detrimental effect on military recruiting.