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Pentagon’s Austin pressed on whether DEI hiring freeze has harmed national security

April 15, 2024

Cami Mondeaux

Washington Examiner

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testifies before Senate Committee on Armed Services during a hearing on Department of Defense Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2025 and the Future Years Defense Program on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By Cami Mondeaux, Washington Examiner / April 15, 2024

A House Republican is pressing the Biden administration to explain how the creation of jobs specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to national security as lawmakers await a report from the Government Accountability Office to review the impact of such positions in the Defense Department. 

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week demanding information on whether a DEI hiring freeze has negatively affected the department and hindered officials from responding to foreign conflicts. The letter, exclusively shared with the Washington Examiner, directly references a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last year that enacted a hiring freeze for new DEI positions until the GAO completes a review of its impact in the military. 

The letter comes in response to the DOD implementing a diversity strategic plan, arguing such a move was “the only way ... to outthink, outmaneuver, and outfight any adversary or threat.” The letter specifically pushes against claims by the Biden administration that DEI positions are crucial for national security, with Banks denouncing that argument as an “outlandish claim.” 

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