Another Republican Comes Out Against Woke Military Spending

Pushing woke agenda ‘undermines our moral position and ultimately degrades our strength,’ Sen. Wicker says

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March 2, 2023

The ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee signaled on Thursday his support for slashing Pentagon programs that support a "woke" cultural agenda.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) during a speech on the Senate floor accused the Biden administration of "shaping the Department of Defense into an institution that is spearheading toxic social policies instead of restoring military strength."

Wicker’s comments come on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report showing Republican support in the House for budget cuts to the Pentagon’s progressive cultural priorities, such as diversity and inclusion training and gender pronoun training. Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon this week that his committee is "examining programs to determine if they actually provide the capabilities we need to defeat the threats we face. If they don't, they'll be cut."

"In the wake of a disastrous retreat from Afghanistan and increasingly hostile behavior from China and Russia, the president should have prioritized military readiness," Wicker said, according to an advance copy of his remarks obtained by the Free Beacon. "Instead, he decided, inexplicably, to spend his first two years in office focused on something else—on shaping the Department of Defense into an institution that is spearheading toxic social policies instead of restoring military strength. This agenda has harmed military readiness and alienated a large portion of potential military recruits."

Wicker and other Republican defense leaders say they will not cut any programs that will bolster the American military's readiness and help it face down threats from Russia, China, Iran, and other hostile nations. With the Pentagon’s budget soaring to record levels, however, these leaders want to defund all programs seen as woke, or promoting far-left cultural priorities.

"Politicizing the military—pushing this ‘woke’ agenda, or any other agenda that does not contribute to cohesion, readiness, and warfighting—undermines our moral position and ultimately degrades our strength," Wicker said.

In March 2022, the Free Beacon disclosed the existence of a U.S. Army training program meant to teach soldiers how to use the proper gender pronouns. It also coached officers on when they should offer members gender transition surgeries.

The Navy is promoting similar programs, including a video that instructs viewers how to create "safe space[s]" by using proper gender pronouns. The video emphasized "the importance of using correct pronouns as well as polite etiquette when you may not be sure of someone's pronouns."