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Posted on Jul 26, 2022 Print this Article

Why Congress Should Defeat Defense Bill Unless “Draft Our Daughters” is Removed

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has approved their version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2023, and the full House has passed their version of the annual NDAA (H.R. 7900), 329-101 on July 13. 

The full Senate will vote on the annual defense bill in September, and a Conference Committee will reconcile differences in the Senate and House versions.  In the meantime, this is an analysis of key military/social issues of concern to CMR in the Senate and House versions of the NDAA.

A.    Senate Committee Votes on NDAA for 2023

The Senate Armed Services Committee has released its Report on their version of the NDAA, which was approved in June behind closed doors, (23-3).

1. Draft Our Daughters

The Senate Committee version of the NDAA is slightly modified since last year, but it remains as unacceptable as ever.  This brief document analyzes the slightly altered but still intolerable Armed Services Committee version of the NDAA for 2023, which would require registration of young women with Selective Service for a possible future draft:

This two-pager updates longstanding reasons why the Senate should not support misguided Draft Our Daughters legislation, especially in view of the Army’s difficulty in implementing what was promised to be a “sex-neutral” Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)

If sex-neutrality does not work in fitness tests, why would anyone believe egalitarian theories would work out better on physically demanding battlefields?

The disappointing committee vote on the NDAA was 20-6, with the following Republicans joining with SASC Chairman Jack Reed (RI)and all Democrats to vote for Draft Our Daughters: Deb Fischer, (NE), Joni Ernst (IA), Thom Tillis (NC), Dan Sullivan (AK), Ron Scott (FL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).  Republican Senators voting against Draft Our Daughters included Ranking Member James Inhofe (OK), Roger Wicker (MS), Tom Cotton (AR), Mike Rounds (SD), Kevin Cramer (ND), and Josh Hawley (MO).

All Senators, on both sides of the aisle, should consider the many reasons why the Congress should refuse to vote for Draft Our Daughters legislation, or to change the purpose of Selective Service to authorize federal bureaucrats to commandeer the lives of young people for less than compelling reasons. 

Inclusion of the Draft Our Daughters provision makes the entire defense bill unacceptable.

2. Sex-Neutral Standards in Combat Training

Sen. Tom Cotton delivered on his promise to take action against the Army’s use of sex-normed (different) training standards for men and women in the combat arms.  If enacted in law, this legislation and a similar provision in the House bill, successfully sponsored by Rep. Mike Waltz, would be a great help in resolving the Army Combat Fitness Test fiasco.

3.  Excessive “Anti-Extremism” Training

The Committee expressed the belief that “spending additional time and resources to combat exceptionally rare instances of extremism in the military is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds and should be discontinued by the Department of Defense immediately.”  CMR addressed this subject in an article for The Federalist in January, which highlighted problems with “anti-extremism” programs that divide and demoralize with critical race theory (CRT) concepts and attitudes that have no place in our military.

4.  Other Issues of Concern:

It is unfortunate that an amendment sponsored by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, which would have required “Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools to notify parents of “matters relating to students’ mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,” failed on a tie vote. 

Another amendment that would have required production of information on spending related to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives of the DoD, also failed on a tie vote. 

In addition, two provisions that would have put the brakes on military use of expensive, inefficient electric vehicles were not approved. 

These promising ideas, and several more that were sponsored but not approved on the House side, should be reconsidered next year.  As stated in this article for The Federalist, woke agendas in the Pentagon are making the Army’s alarming recruiting crisis much worse:

B.      House Version of the NDAA (H.R. 7900)

The full House approved their version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2023 on July 13, (329-101).  The following comments address various issues in the House defense bill: 

1. Draft Our Daughters:  The House was wise to forego approval of Draft Our Daughters language like what was taken up last year.  However, since the Senate Armed Services Committee did approve a Draft Our Daughters that makes the entire defense bill unacceptable, House members should consider points in the two-page analyses linked above.  

2.  Transgenders in the Military:  We were concerned about an amendment that would have codified Biden Administration policies regarding persons who identify as transgender or suffer from gender dysphoria and pleased when that amendment was withdrawn.  This two-pager includes background information on the Biden Administration’s transgender policies and why Congress should avoid any action to codify or expand them:

3.  Sex-Neutral Training Standards: The House took a promising step in supporting an sponsored by Rep. Mike Waltz, similar to Sen. Tom Cotton’s legislation directing the Army to use of sex-normed (different) training standards for men and women in the combat arms.  If enacted in law, this legislation could be a great help in resolving problems with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).

4.  Parents Rights:  Rep. Elise Stefanik, (R-NY), who is Chair of the Republican Conference and member of the House Armed Services Committee, successfully sponsored a Servicemember Parents Bill of Rights amendment, which was passed in committee with a bipartisan vote of 39-19.  The Stefanik legislation provides to parents of children attending Department of Defense Educational Activity (DODEA) schools the right to review curriculum, a list of books and other reading materials, and the right to be notified of any medical information collected on their child, only with the parents’ consent.

5. “Anti-Extremism” Programs: The Senate also took a step in the right direction by approving legislation expressing the belief that “spending additional time and resources to combat exceptionally rare instances of extremism in the military is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds and should be discontinued by the Department of Defense immediately.”  The House, unfortunately, approved a measure that would prolong problematic “anti-extremism” programs focused only on the right side of the political spectrum, not the left.

6.  Schiff Amendment to Exclude Evidence in Posse Comitatus Cases: There has been speculation about this cryptic amendment to the NDAA, which the House narrowly approved.  This article by Law Professor Emeritus William A Woodruff, who served as a Colonel in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps: The Federalist: How the Schiff Amendment Could Have Protected a Child Pornographer  

7.  Civilianizing Military Service Academies: The “Chairman’s Mark” version of the House NDAA included language that would request a report from the Defense Department on what it would take to establish a “public service cadet program at each military service academy.”  There is no need to provide a very expensive service academy education program for future government bureaucrats.

8.  Positive Amendments Left Behind:  Several good amendments were narrowly defeated in committee or blocked by the Rules Committee.  These amendments, for example, would have:

  • Prohibited federal funds for DoD Chief Diversity Officers and other diversity enforcers
  • Prohibited federal funding to expand diversity training
  • Prohibited federal funds for COVID vaccination mandates on military personnel
  • Expressed the Sense of Congress that servicemembers should not be discharged for refusing COVID vaccinations, and should be reinstated with rank and back pay restored
  • Expressed the Sense of Congress that combating “extremism” in the military should not be a top priority of the DoD
  • Eliminated critical race theory (CRT) instructions in military schools
  • Prohibited gender transition procedures in the Exceptional Family Member Program
  • Prohibited TRICARE from covering sex “reassignment” surgeries and transgender hormone treatments
  • Reinstated Trump Administration policies regarding gender dysphoria
  • Stricken establishment of the gender advisory workforce
  • Prohibited the federal government from leasing federal property to abortion providers
  • Required DoD report on number of servicemembers discharged for resisting COVID vaccination orders

These amendments and more should be put on the “To Do” list for the next Congress. 

As CMR and other observers have been saying for many weeks, woke agendas in the Pentagon are making the Army’s alarming Recruiting Crisis much worse.

There is a great need for congressional oversight and intervention to reduce heavy burdens of social engineering, which are taking a serious toll on our military.

Congress has the responsibility to evaluate all proposals in terms of military readiness, and to restore sound priorities, not “diversity” quotas and reality-denying social agendas.

* * * * * *

The Center for Military Readiness is an independent, non-partisan 501(c)(3) public policy organization, founded in 1993, which reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  More information is available at www.cmrlink.org.  To make a tax-deductible contribution to CMR, click here.

Posted on Jul 26, 2022 Print this Article