Issue: H.R. 335, To provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces. Question: On passage.
Result: Passed in House, 326 to 78, 27 not voting. Agreed to later that day by the Senate (Vote #4). Signed the next day by the President (1-22-21). Became Public Law 117-1. GOP only scored.
Freedom First Society: Normally, the House does not weigh in on confirmations of presidential nominees. But in this case, President Biden’s nominee of Lloyd Austin to become Secretary of Defense required a one-time change in the statute designed to preserve civilian control of the military that required a minimum seven-year separation. Austin had only five.
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The statute preventing recently retired military from serving as Secretary of Defense was enacted shortly after World War II to preserve civilian control and has only been waived twice – once for General George Marshall and then for General Mattis under President Trump.
But the importance of civilian control of the military should not have been the compelling reason to deny the waiver. Even though there were many fine alternatives that didn’t require a waiver. The objection should have been to CFR control of the military and our government.
Indeed, the primary reason to deny the waiver should have been Austin’s membership in the globalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), along with several other top Biden nominees, as well as Austin’s commitment to the globalist agenda and his eagerness to make a home in the military for transgender individuals. Significantly, the sponsor of H.R. 335, the waiver, was Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA-9), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, but also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
We don’t score the House Democrats on this one because the 15 opponents included many anti-defense radicals.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Bill Summary (Congressional Research Service):
Shown Here: Public Law No: 117-1 (01/22/2021)
This bill allows the first person nominated and appointed as Secretary of Defense after 12 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on January 20, 2021, to be a person who is, on the date of appointment, at least four years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of the Armed Forces. Under current law, an individual may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from such active duty.
Analysis: Indeed, H.R. 335 was specifically designed to allow Lloyd Austin to become Biden’s Secretary of Defense. Section 1b of the measure states: “Limited Exception. —This section applies only to the first person nominated after 12 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on January 20, 2021, and appointed as Secretary of Defense as described in subsection (a), and to no other person.”
In introducing the measure before the House, the sponsor, Rep. Adam Smith, argued:
“Mr. Speaker, this is the bill that will grant a waiver, an exemption, to Lloyd Austin to be nominated and confirmed as the Secretary of Defense. This is required because there is a law on the books that says that you must be 7 years separated from military service in order to serve as Secretary of Defense.
“Mr. Austin has been out for almost 5 years, but does not meet the 7-year requirement. So we need to pass this law to give him that exemption.
“Now, this is not an easy question. Civilian control of the military is enormously important. That is why this law was put in place. But in looking at this, I feel there are three basic questions:
“Number one, does the nominee in question understand and reassure us in the House–for the purposes of our vote on this portion of the waiver — that he understands and is committed to civilian control of the military?
“Second, is there something about this particular nominee that makes it important to grant this exclusion, to grant this waiver?
“And, third, is the individual qualified for the job? Because I do believe that that is important, and the details of their history is important in deciding that.
“And I have, after a lot of thought and a lot of conversations with Mr. Austin and others, concluded that all three of those criteria are met in this instance.” [Emphasis added]
We look at Rep. Smith’s support for his second reason “something about this particular nominee that makes it important to grant … this waiver”:
“And then there is the second issue: Why this person, in this instance? Mr. Austin will be the first African American nominated….
“Mr. Austin will be the first African American nominated to be Secretary of Defense, which is enormously important in and of itself.
“The military has a problem with diversity. They have an insufficient number of people of color who have been advanced to high positions, to general and general flag officers. It is enormously important that they address that.
“In addition, in this country, we have an enormous problem right now with White supremacy. We also have a problem within our military ranks.
“Now, let me be perfectly clear: I have 100 percent confidence in our military. But this is an issue that they do need to address, the rise of White supremacy and White nationalism within their ranks. Having a highly qualified African American be Secretary of Defense will be an enormous step toward addressing that problem.”
Americans shouldn’t care if the entire Congress were black. Their correct concern is not the color of one’s skin (the current political focus on race is a Leftist campaign with an agenda that has nothing to do with eliminating racism). The proper concern is what leaders support, e.g. the Constitution.
Here’s another example of the radical focus on “political correctness” to support a far different agenda that ignores the proper purpose of our military — to win our nation’s wars:
Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland): “Mr. Speaker, Lloyd Austin, as we have heard, would be our country’s first African-American Secretary of Defense. His confirmation is more than a symbolic milestone towards genuine integration of the Department of Defense; it is a substantive answer to many of the challenges that the military faces.
“What are those challenges, Mr. Speaker? White supremacy and extremism. There is a dramatic rise in White supremacists and racist hate groups within our military. They actively recruit from our uniformed ranks….
“What are those challenges, Mr. Speaker? The lack of diversity inclusion at our highest ranks and in our coveted career fields….
“These are real challenges that erode the effectiveness of our military. That is why we need a leader like Lloyd Austin.” [Emphasis added.]
What is ignored here is the real challenge to the effectiveness of our military: The CFR’s domination of our government. U.S. globalists created Communist China as an adversary to justify empowering globalist institutions to manage conflict and making the U.S. subservient to those institutions. Lloyd Austin as a CFR member is certainly going to support that scheme.
Another of those who rose to support Lloyd Austin was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
“The next Secretary of Defense will have to make sure that our armed forces reflect and promote the full diversity of our nation.
“General Austin is uniquely qualified to lead and oversee this effort to ensure that every member of the armed forces is treated with dignity and respect, including Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American, women, and LGBTQ+ service members.”
A few days later (January 25), President Biden himself issued an executive order that placed civil standards above military effectiveness and unit cohesion by revoking a Trump administration order. The Trump order had largely excluded trans people from joining the military and had placed restrictions on those already serving.
In 1987, Brigadier General Andrew J. Gatsis wrote: “The primary purpose of the Armed Forces is to fight and win when diplomacy fails – nothing else.” Battle effectiveness must be the overriding consideration in military organization.