EXCLUSIVE: The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee will press top Pentagon officials this week on how to keep the U.S. competitive with its top foreign adversaries instead of "waging culture wars" within the military’s ranks.
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the committee’s ranking member, told Fox News Digital that the "divisive social policies" imposed by President Joe Biden’s appointees are "undermining" the U.S., and will press the point at a Wednesday hearing with top Pentagon officials.
"In the competition with China and Russia, our greatest asset is our people. The divisive social policies being pushed by senior Democrat appointees at the Pentagon are undermining this advantage," Wicker said.
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Sen. Roger Wicker is the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
"Our military professionals consistently represent the best of our country, and we must center our efforts on preserving the warfighting and team-focused ethos in our armed forces, not waging culture wars in the ranks," he added.
Wicker indicated that those sentiments will play a role in his line of questioning at Wednesday’s hearing to examine recruitment challenges facing the military today.
"I look forward to sharing this commitment with the Biden officials who will testify to our committee," the senator said.
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Sen. Wicker is worried that Biden Pentagon officials' interest in "waging culture wars" is taking precedence over U.S. military competition with China and Russia. (Yang Bo/China News Service via Getty Images)
Wicker’s warning about Washington’s vulnerability against Beijing and Moscow comes as the leaders of the two authoritarian-leaning states meet in person in Russia for the first time since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion against Ukraine in late February last year.
While Chinese President Xi Jinping said he would call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his trip, his three-day stint in-person with Putin raised the possibility that Beijing could soon help Moscow militarily.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, June 5, 2019. They're due to meet again this week. (Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)
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The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to hear from the undersecretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force about what the Center for Strategic and International Studies called "the worst recruiting crisis since the creation of the All-Volunteer Force nearly 50 years ago."
Nearly every branch of the U.S. military has struggled to meet its recruitment goals. Army officials said late last year that it fell short by 25% in its benchmark for new entries in the last fiscal year.
Elizabeth Elkind is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital.