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Posted on Aug 18, 2022 Print this Article

Issue 69: August 2022

This edition of CMR E-Notes is jam-packed with news and analysis of what is happening with our “woke” military and congressional efforts to stop it.  “Draft Our Daughters” is back again and it is a major problem that must be removed from the pending annual defense bill, but there were some positive developments.  Amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023 that failed on narrow, partisan votes will lay down a solid agenda for the new  118th Congress arriving next year.

A severe Recruiting Crisis is threatening the viability of the All-Volunteer Force, but opinion-leaders are starting to recognize the connection with woke policies, including diversity quotas, LGBT demonstrations, critical race theory (CRT) indoctrination, and unreasonable COVID-19 vaccination mandates.  In a preview of debates to come, the Republican National Committee has passed two resolutions that reflect CMR’s concerns about woke mandates taken to extremes.

CMR needs your help to continue highlighting and working to resolve problems in this unique and important field of public policy.  Please consider making a generous tax-deductible contribution by clicking here.  Thank you for supporting our military in this way!

-- Elaine Donnelly

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A. Senate Committee Votes for Unacceptable “Draft Our Daughters” Measure

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), chaired by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), has once again voted to approve Draft Our Daughters language in the Senate version of the NDAA.

The SASC Report reveals the committee’s votes on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023, which was approved in June behind closed doors, (23-3).  (pp. 476-482)

According to the SASC Report, this year’s measure is slightly modified since last year.  This brief analysis explains why the slightly altered version is as unacceptable as ever:

This two-pager updates longstanding reasons why the Senate should not approve 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):

The disappointing committee vote on the NDAA was 20-6, with the following Republicans joining with Chairman Reed and all Democrats to vote for Draft Our Daughters: Deb Fischer, (NE), Joni Ernst (IA), Thom Tillis (NC), Dan Sullivan (AK), Rick Scott (FL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).  These senators ignored a persuasive letter opposing the legislation, signed by Sen. Josh Hawley (MO) and twelve other senators.

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).

CMR hopes that all Senators, on both sides of the aisle, will consider the many reasons why the Congress should not vote to Draft Our Daughters, or to authorize federal bureaucrats to commandeer the lives of young people for less than compelling reasons.

B.  Defense Bill Process Shows Need for More Pro-Defense Votes

This article, posted on the CMR website, reports on and analyzes other key military/social issues of concern to CMR in the Senate and House versions of the NDAA:

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.

On the good news side:

1.  Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT): 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 aspiring to serve in combat arms units such as the infantry.  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.

2.  Anti-Extremism Training:  With a bi-partisan 14-12 vote, the Senate Committee also 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.”  (p. 479)

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.

3.  Transgender Policies:  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:

Neither the Senate nor the House approved possible legislation that would have codified Biden Administration policies regarding persons who identify as transgender or suffer from gender dysphoria.  A House amendment addressing the transgender issue was withdrawn.

4. Military 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.

On the Bad News Side:

1.  Schiff Amendment:  Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sponsored a cryptic amendment to the NDAA, which the House narrowly approved.  This article by Law Professor Emeritus William A. Woodruff, explains why the Schiff amendment could have unexpected consequences:

2.  Public Service Cadets:  The “Chairman’s Mark” draft version of the House NDAA included language that would request a report from the DoD 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.

Good Ideas to Revisit:

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, enforcers, and training; Prohibited federal funds for COVID vaccination mandates on military personnel, Eliminated critical race theory (CRT) instructions in military schools, Prohibited gender transition procedures in the Exceptional Family Member Program and TRICARE benefits covering sex “reassignment” surgeries and transgender hormone treatments; Reinstated Trump Administration policies regarding gender dysphoria: Limited unreasonable mandates for military electric vehicles; and Prohibited the federal government from leasing federal property to abortion providers.

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

C.  Recruiting Crisis Is “Woke” Wake-Up Call

High-level leaders are starting to recognize what CMR has been saying for years: declining recruiting numbers are indicators that the Pentagon is alienating its core constituency: patriotic families.  CMR President Elaine Donnelly spotlighted the connection in this article:

Opinion leaders everywhere are talking about the armed forces’ struggles to meet recruiting goals, despite generous bonuses of as much as $50,000 in the Army, which has reduced end-strength by 10,000 and still may fall far short of their recruiting goal by the end of the fiscal year.

In the Navy, new recruits and former servicemembers also can receive a $50,000 signing bonus, and those who enter training immediately can receive an additional $65,000 in student loan repayments.  At the same time, the Navy reports record numbers of desertionstwice the number of desertions in 2019. (98 up to 157)  In addition, thousands of active-duty personnel have been dismissed for declining to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, for reasons of individual medical concerns or religious convictions.

The Biden/Harris Administration continues to alienate the military’s core constituency, parents and traditional families, whose support is essential in finding and attracting young recruits for the All-Volunteer Force.

Policies and practices that have weakened morale in the military have included, for example:

  • Time- and money-wasting “anti-extremism” programs focusing on minuscule numbers of extremists on the right side of the spectrum but not the left
  • Divisive critical race theory (CRT) instructions in Defense Department schools and military service academies
  • Transgender indoctrination for women forced to share private living spaces and athletic teams with biological men
  • Mandated use of reality-denying pronouns for persons identifying as the opposite sex;
  • Pervasive LGBT Pride Month events and “celebrations” in June, including sexualized drag queen performances for children on military bases such as Ramstein AFB, Joint Base Langley/Eustis, Nellis AFB, and several more.
  • Directives imposing penalties for medical personnel who object to controversial treatments for gender dysphoria, such as puberty blockers for children and irreversible surgeries, for reasons of medical ethics or personal religious convictions
  • Unreasonable discharges of thousands of exemplary military personnel who have declined COVID-19 vaccinations for personal medical reasons or religious convictions.

Woke policies such as this have sent the “anti-recruiting” message that persons and families with traditional values are not appreciated or welcome in the military.

The only beneficiaries of these disastrous military/social policies are potential adversaries of the United States, especially the Republic of China.

D.  Vaccination Rejection, Recruiting & Retention – What Are They Thinking?

This article highlights the absurdity of driving people out of the military to fulfill scientifically dubious COVID vaccination mandates while all branches of the service are experiencing recruiting shortages and the loss of experienced personnel:

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) joined with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and twelve colleagues to propose what they called the “Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots” (AMERICANS) Act”

This is a difficult issue for some lawmakers because the military has required certain vaccines for decades – even the controversial anthrax vaccine.  However, in view of recent studies and experiences with the COVID-19 vaccines – including evidence of reduced effectiveness and apparent risks of adverse events for young and otherwise healthy males – inflexible military COVID-19 vaccine mandates are not consistent with “following the science.”

It is difficult to understand why the military services and academies keep pushing an inflexible, unreasonable “get vaccinated or get out” policy, which has become a national security issue.  In CMR’s view, military vaccination mandates have little to do with the health of the force and everything to do with the power of military officials to implement policy.

Power Plays, Precedent, and Irony

The military is uniquely vulnerable to power plays such as this because personnel are not truly free to dissent, and federal courts are reluctant to second guess military judgments and decisions.  The situation is ironic, since it seems that this is one area where individual preferences and convictions don’t matter.  In other areas, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, medical ethics, or sexual privacy, the desires of some individuals “to serve their country” take precedence over everything else.

Several lawsuits have been filed against military vaccination mandates, and some have been successful.  If pending COVID-19 cases ever reach the Supreme Court on the merits, the Court may cut back on the degree to which courts have always deferred to the military.  Such an outcome might provide justice for the individuals who were harmed by unreasonable COVID-19 ultimatums, but the resulting precedent would be harmful for the military in a larger sense.

Historically, federal courts have deferred to military decisions, and that deference is a good thing.  But the Biden Administration is risking the principle of judicial deference on the altar of political power, which is not a good thing.  It would be better for members of the next Congress to intervene with legislation to end the current administration’s inflexible vaccination policies, which convey an “anti-recruiting” message that is weakening the All-Volunteer Force.

E.  Republican National Committee Resolves to End Woke-ism in the Military

On August 5, the Republican National Committee passed two Resolutions challenging the ideology being catered to at the Pentagon:

These resolutions are a good first step in building the confidence of legislators needed to step up and the right thing in the next Congress, as well as a new President in the next administration.

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Articles of Interest:

Posted on Aug 18, 2022 Print this Article