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Congressman attacks military racial, gender quotas

NY Army National Guard Soldiers of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team during farewell at Thompson Road Armory in Syracuse, NY on July 15, 2022. (Major Avery Schneider/U.S. Army National Guard)
September 20, 2023

Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) blasted the military’s diversity, equity, and inclusion military programs during Wednesday’s “Meritocracy in the Military Services: From Recruiting and Accession to Promotion and Command Selection” hearing.

The Republican congressman presented comments at the opening of the hearing, which focused on the various policies, principles, and procedures used by the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Space Force for promotions, command selections, and accessions.

Wednesday’s hearing was intended to determine whether merit-based principles are followed by the nation’s military personnel system.

After thanking the witnesses who were scheduled to provide testimony during the hearing, Banks said, “I hope this hearing provides an opportunity for our Members to have a productive exchange with our witnesses and provide answers to their questions.”

Banks explained that while the hearing’s questions would be focused on the personnel system used for the military, the answers would have “much broader implications.”

READ MORE: Merit-based military promotions opposed by Biden admin.

“These questions go to our Nation’s founding principles: meritocracy, talent, and equality of opportunity,” he said. “Across the country, these principles are under attack. They are being sacrificed at the altar of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion bureaucracies… Bureaucracies which demand racial and gender quotas…regardless of ability.”

Blasting diversity, equity, and inclusion programs across the nation, the congressman claimed that “performative social justice goals” require businesses, universities, government agencies, and the U.S. military to exchange a workforce built on skill, hard work and productivity for a workforce that “looks good on a brochure,” which he described as “demeaning to all Americans.”

“Millions of Americans are frustrated with the social justice agenda that pervades our schools, corporations, and now, the Pentagon bureaucracy,” he said.

As an example of the military’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Banks said that a memo provided last August by the secretary of the Air Force established “quota goals” to serve as guidelines for its pool of officer applicants. Banks claimed that the memo stipulated that 67% of officer applicants should be white, 36% should be female, 15% should be Hispanic, and 10% should be Asian.

“Americans are fed up,” Banks said. “There is one place we simply can’t afford to trade equal opportunity for radical ideology—the United States Military. We must do whatever it takes to ensure that effort, hard work, and results are the ONLY relevant measures of our service members.”

Urging a departure from diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in the military, Banks said the “only standard that will matter on the battlefield” is the “lethality” of America’s military.

“If these policies continue, we are placing Military Readiness and our national security at Risk,” Banks said. “And we are putting an end to one of the last great meritocratic systems in the United States.”