EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon Says It Can’t Calculate Diversity Training Costs Because Congress Defunded DEI Offices

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Pentagon told Congress it could not provide a required accounting of diversity training to Congress because it didn’t have enough people working in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) positions, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

Congress mandated the Pentagon compile a report detailing how much the entire military spent on diversity training, salaries for DEI administrators and any impacts on recruiting and retention across the force that was due March 1, according to last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets defense policy for the next fiscal year. But the Pentagon is nearly two months behind the due date for the report after the same defense authorization act for fiscal year 2024 slashed the salaries of DEI personnel, effectively gutting the departments, the DCNF learned.

“This report is delayed due to lack of DEI manning. We do not have an estimated completion date at this time,” a legislative liaison representing the Department of Defense (DOD) to Congress said in correspondence shared with the DCNF. (RELATED: Pentagon Won’t Respond To New Research Casting Doubt On Studies Supporting Military’s DEI Push)

Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who chairs the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, told the DCNF the response shows the Pentagon is “simply covering up Joe Biden’s politicization of our military.”

The 2024 NDAA capped annual salaries for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) administrators at $70,000, which means most officials will have to find other jobs or accept difficult pay cuts, according to data the Pentagon’s personnel office provided to Republican Missouri Sen. Eric Schmidt. It also banned the Pentagon from hiring into DEI-focused roles until Congress received the results of an audit of all DOD offices and programming.

“The Biden DOD spends over a hundred million dollars a year on DEI, but apparently they don’t have enough DEI staff to provide the House Armed Services Committee with a simple report about how they’re using all their money. It’s ridiculous,” Banks told the DCNF.

The Pentagon is now working on the report “and will provide the information once completed,” a spokesperson told the DCNF on Tuesday. The person declined to provide further details.

The military calculated the total cost in dollars and number of hours spent on the extremism stand down on Feb. 5, 2021 required after the Jan. 6 capitol riots and on training — $1 million and 5.8 million man-hours. Noting that, Congress asked the military to supply the total cost of training in DEI, the amount spent on salaries for civilian personnel working on DEI positions, and “how the objectives of the DEI and extremism training conducted in the last 5 fiscal years were satisfied by the training.”

Congress sought to probe how the DOD’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion influenced recruitment, promotions, discharges and courts-martial for violating the Pentagon’s extremism orders or regulations. Lawmakers asked for a description of the training materials for 2023, the year covered by the bill.

“House Republicans fought hard to gut Biden’s DEI bureaucracy at the Department of Defense,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told the DCNF at the time. Rogers touted the House GOP’s efforts to restore the military’s focus “on capability and lethality instead of Biden’s far-left political priorities.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from a Pentagon spokesperson.

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