IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2023 Christians United for Israel summit in Arlington, Va.
Ron DeSantis at the 2023 Christians United for Israel summit in Arlington, Va., yesterday.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

DeSantis policy proposal could reshape top ranks of the military

The Florida governor's military policy proposal includes a six-month review for "all personnel in four-star command."

By and

For weeks, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been campaigning on an overhaul of the U.S. military, pledging to “rip the woke” out.

The details, released Tuesday morning, include a potentially far-reaching plan: six-month performance reviews of all personnel in 4-star command and subsequent firings for “anyone determined to have promoted policies to the detriment of readiness and warfighting.”

It’s a plan that could see a President DeSantis remake the top ranks of the military in his first year in office, and it’s part of a wider campaign theme about purging and remaking the federal bureaucracy if he is elected.

DeSantis also pledged to revoke an executive order that allows transgender personnel to serve in the military under their preferred gender identity.

At a press conference announcing the proposed policy, NBC News’ Gabe Gutierrez asked DeSantis if transgender and gay people should be allowed to serve openly in the military. 

“We said we’re not going to do the transgender or the gender ideology and that’s mission readiness,” DeSantis said. “That had been the policy prior to Biden and he’s changed it. He’s included the sex change and all that. So we are going to go back to pre-Biden on the gender ideology for that.”

The policy rollout, titled “Mission First,” sets out similar goals that DeSantis has in other areas: to eliminate Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiatives as well as defund and prohibit any courses with Critical Race Theory at service academies. 

“Instead of DEI, what we should promote is merit, fairness, and equality,” DeSantis told the crowd at his rollout event, adding “I don’t think you can have a good military force if you do it any other way than that.”

On the military’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, the policy pledges to reinstate and issue back pay for any soldier who was discharged, separated, retired or reassigned for refusing the shot.

This is the second major policy proposal from the campaign after his immigration policy was released last month.