On the other hand, Democrats and Biden administration officials defended the Pentagon’s diversity and inclusion efforts. They noted that the military is more lethal and ready than ever before because of its increased diversity. Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed cited a Pentagon survey that only 5% of military members are worried about “woke” policies in the military. Still, Schmitt and other Republicans are skeptical and argue that pursuing social issues like diversity and inclusion is harming military readiness.
At the hearing, Pentagon officials discussed the need to develop diverse and capable teams to increase warfighting capability. However, Republicans like Schmitt want to know exactly what metrics the military is using to measure equity. They also view the constant focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a distraction from the real recruiting crisis that the military is experiencing. According to Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the committee, initiatives such as extremism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at best a distraction and, at worst, dissuade young people from enlisting.