Wicker Introduces Bill to Protect Merit-Based Military, Counter CRT

Armed Services Leader: Military Readiness Depends on the Guarantee of Equal Opportunity, Not Equal Outcome

June 6, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced a bill that would prohibit the Department of Defense from prioritizing the demographic characteristics of service members above individual merit and demonstrated performance.

Titled the “Military Merit, Fairness, and Equality Act of 2023,” the measure is Wicker’s latest effort to force the Biden Pentagon to abandon divisive social policies like critical race theory (CRT) that are a distraction from readiness.

“The toxic, so-called ‘equity’ agenda at the Department of Defense damages readiness and falsely suggests that our military has a problem with diversity,” Wicker said. “My legislation would stop this overreaching social policy at its source and protect the values of merit and equal opportunity that have made our military the most powerful in the world. The Pentagon must focus on deterrence over division.”

Wicker’s legislation would define “equity” for the Pentagon as "the right of all persons to have the opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, programs, and activities for which they are qualified” and would ban any Department of Defense-affiliated institution from any training or instruction that would violate this merit-based definition of equity.

The act follows several related efforts from the Mississippi senator to take on the emergence of toxic political diversions at the Department of Defense. In March, Wicker delivered remarks on the Senate floor where he blasted Pentagon bureaucrats for focusing on waging culture wars instead of deterring real wars.

In the 117th Congress, Wicker cosponsored the “Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act” with Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., which would completely ban critical race theory in the military. Wicker has repeatedly pressed the Secretary of Defense to explain other divisive policies, such as the dismissal of a Space Force Commander and the standing up of several working groups on race, political extremism, and climate change that would diminish military readiness.

Read the legislation here. Read more about Wicker’s work on national defense issues here.