Wicker to Introduce Merit Act as NDAA Amendment

Armed Services Leader: Committee Must Pursue Deterrence-Focused Agenda

June 16, 2023

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced that he would be proposing his “Military Merit, Fairness, and Equality Act of 2023” (Merit Act) as an amendment to the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation, which would prohibit the Department of Defense from prioritizing the demographic characteristics of service members above individual merit and demonstrated performance, will now be considered by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during next week’s markup of the annual defense bill.

“We must use all means available to preserve the performance-based warfighting ethos of our military. The Merit Act would stop the toxic, so-called ‘equity’ agenda at the Department of Defense at its source and ensure our military remains focused on deterrence over division,” Wicker said. “I look forward to discussing this bill with my Armed Services colleagues and working to earn their support.”

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 the pervasive attitude of wokeness at the Pentagon instead of focusing on the window of maximum danger ahead with the Chinese military.

Read the legislation here. Read Senator Wicker’s column on the Merit Act here. You can also watch a video of the column here.