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Ron DeSantis’ Plan for a “Mission First” Military

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I felt a calling to volunteer and to serve our country in uniform. I passed on more lucrative financial opportunities because I believed I should do my part while our nation was engaged in conflict. I ended up joining the Navy, earning a commission as a JAG Officer, and deploying to Iraq as a senior legal advisor to Navy SEAL Team One in places such as Fallujah, Ramadi, and the rest of Al Anbar province. 

When you wear the cloth of your country, serving alongside fellow patriots, when you're pursuing a mission greater than your personal self-interest, there's value to that money can't buy. It's something that I, like many veterans, take real pride in. 

More than any time in my life, veterans are questioning whether they'd want their children or grandchildren to join today's military because they see the military losing its focus. But it's not merely sad---it's dangerous, too. 

Recruiting is suffering. 2022 was the worst year for recruiting in the history of the all-volunteer force, and every military service is missing their recruiting goals---some by as much as 50%. This, while our ammunition stocks are being depleted, and while China is rising as an increasingly powerful adversary. 

We cannot tolerate political agendas in our military. We cannot allow military and civilian leaders to use our armed forces for social experimentation or to advance woke ideology. 

We must restore our military to its proper function. The military's mission is to defend America. Any distraction from our military's mission will be eliminated under my administration. My mission will be building and maintaining a military whose focus is to deter wars while having the capability and lethality to fight wars and overwhelmingly win them if necessary. We will revive a culture that makes service members proud to serve and attracts Americans to enlist. 

We need to have a military that is lethal, ready and capable. Every policy in the military, every personnel decision in the military, and every funding decision in the military needs to be aimed towards that. Our military needs to be focused on one thing: Mission First.


Just like the university bureaucracies, the Department of Defense has been accumulating, like barnacles, a diversity bureaucracy that sucks in vast amounts of taxpayer money while not doing anything to help the military improve its readiness, capability, or lethality. In fact, by distracting service members from those things, it is actively weakening the military's ability to perform its core functions. 

We are going to rip the DEI bureaucracy out of the Department of Defense. Here's how: when it comes to employees in "diversity and inclusion" positions, we're going to fire who we can and reassign whoever we can't. We are going to eliminate every senior administrative DEI position at the Pentagon. Every permanent employee in a "diversity and inclusion" position will be reassigned. 

We're also going to make sure that the service academies are just as aligned with the mission as the rest of the military. Right now, that focus isn't there. Soldiers at the academies have reported being forced to take part in "privilege walks," where they had to separate themselves by race and gender and acknowledge their "racial privilege." Others said that members were encouraged to report their fellow members who voiced the belief that "All Lives Matter."  At the Naval Academy, professors were recommending that midshipmen read Ibram X. Kendi's How to be an Antiracist, which explicitly prescribes overt racial discrimination as a solution to racism. 

None of this helps develop the next generation of competent military leaders. As president, I will require that service academies teach disciplines that are directly connected to military needs. Our future young officers should be learning about military history, leadership, and nuclear engineering---not white privilege, systemic racism, and unconscious bias. Remember---attendees at the service academies have their tuition paid for by the taxpayer. We have the right to insist that the available academic disciplines help make our military more capable, ready, and lethal.

DeSantis in Military

Navy Veteran RonDeSantis: “The military is using your tax dollars to pay for hormones and sex change operations … How is that helping ensure a lethal fighting force?”


Our military has driven off some of its best warriors with vaccine mandates. These were particularly absurd when applied to our brave special operators. Think about it: they were telling Navy SEALs in peak fitness---who had already contracted COVID and had natural immunity---that they had to get a novel and unnecessary vaccine. Is it any surprise that a lot of our proud, brave, competent special operators decided to leave the service, given this disrespect? 

But more than that, think of all the training that these special operators go through to be able to execute the most dangerous missions that our military has to offer. When I was supporting a SEAL team as a JAG in Iraq, I was truly in awe of their skill and bravery. Special operators don't just grow on trees, and if our military is going to stay capable, ready, and lethal, we need to reverse this terrible policy that drove so many good soldiers away. 

As governor, I signed legislation banning the use of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Florida. When I'm President, we are going to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the military, and we're going to allow troops who were kicked out for refusing the vaccine to be reinstated to their prior rank and with back pay.

DeSantis with Supporters

7-18-23 Live Recording of Ron DeSantis Mission First Policy on Driving out Service Members due to the COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate. Reinstating Service Members who were punished for not vaccinating.


If our military is to be focused on being capable, ready, and lethal, we need to have a single physical standard for our combat troops. Not everyone can be a NAVY Seal. The point of having high physical standards for combat units is to ensure they can execute their missions; when standards drop, high-risk missions become riskier. 

Women should be able to serve in units where they meet the relevant physical standards---but there should be no reduction in standards just to ensure that every unit has the "right" amount of each gender. 

As President, I will require all military services to impose gender neutral physical qualification standards. I will ban race and gender quotas in military recruiting and promotions and mandate that all personnel decisions be based on merit. And I will ensure that any commander suspected of using racial or gender preferences in promotions is investigated. 

It's not healthy for society when people are discriminated against based on their race or sex. But in the military, it's not just unethical, it's dangerous.

DeSantis Military Photo


One thing that is certainly not helping the military's reputation among normal Americans is the spectacle of retired military and intelligence officials using their stature and their clearances to further a political agenda. There is no better example of this than when 51 such former officials signed an open letter saying that the Hunter Biden laptop "had all the hallmarks of Russian disinformation." We now know that was disinformation itself, and yet there has been no accountability for the officials who spread such nonsense. 

To fix this problem, we're going to stop issuing security clearances to retired military officials. They can have their tv hits, they just shouldn't get to pretend that they are the bearers of some secret classified knowledge when they do so. 

We're also not going to tolerate any top-level officials lying under oath. When people like James Clapper brazenly lie to Congress and face no consequences, it diminishes our country. That hurts recruiting. If any officials lie under oath in my administration, I will fire them. 

Our generals must be held to a higher standard than the rank-and-file. They are responsible for setting the tone for the entire military, and they are the public face of the entire military. When they act in a cravenly partisan fashion, they debase the entire institution. This isn't just a matter of national honor; it's a matter of national security. If people do not respect our military, they will not sign up for our military, and the recruitment crisis will get worse and worse. Our military cannot be capable, ready, and lethal if it can't even find people willing to serve.


The military is broken, but we can fix it. If we can break the DEI swamp, end pronoun distractions, eliminate affirmative action, reinstate unvaccinated service members, and hold talking head generals accountable, we can do a lot improve the functioning of the military and change the way that the military is viewed by the general public. 

But as President, I won't rest on my laurels when it comes to recruiting. I'll use the bully pulpit to engage Americans on the power and meaning of military service. I know how much it meant to me and my life; I will work tirelessly to persuade young people that it's worth wearing the uniform. I'll expand JROTC programs and civics programs in secondary schools, and work with the Department of Defense to understand what other issues might be hurting recruitment. 

Because at the end of the day, this isn't about a culture war. It's about deterring a real war. The world is a dangerous place, and if we want peace, we must be strong. We will make our military capable, ready, and lethal, and we will keep Americans safe.

Rip Political Agendas Out of Our Military 

I. Eliminate "Diverse-aucrats" (Diversity Bureaucrats) 

  • Get rid of Diversity and Inclusion administrators for each military department and end all DEI hirings. 
  • End Military Departmental task forces, working groups, advisory boards, and other panels that focus on DEI. (For example, Task Force One Navy, Army Project Inclusion, and DOD Racial Disparity Reviews)
  • Task and hold accountable a Secretary of Defense who will elevate and consider generals, upper tiers of Pentagon flag officers, and military civilian leadership whose focus will be on lethality, readiness, and capabilities.  

II. End Woke Operating Policies  

  • End drag shows on military bases.  
  • Prohibit the Department of Defense from conducting business with advertising with left-wing firms that blacklist conservative news sources.
  • Revoke Executive Order 14004, which allows transgender personnel to serve in the military in their preferred sex and provides taxpayer funds for sex change hormones and surgeries, which cause issues with readiness.
  • Close the "Defense Equity Team," and the "Defense Advisory Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion."
  • Prohibit Department of Defense contracts to Federally Funded Research and Development Corporations related to DEI until their policy changes.
  • Reform the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness to focus on the critical challenges facing the military such as recruiting, retention, and healthcare. 

III. Ban Woke Indoctrination  

  • Defund and prohibit any courses associated with Critical Race Theory at service academies.
  • Require that fields of study at service academies be in fields traceable to military needs such as military history, leadership, nuclear engineering, personnel management, or software development. Because the U.S. taxpayer is fully underwriting the cost of this education, the list of available academic disciplines should be narrowly focused on the needs of the Department of Defense.
  • Prohibit the instruction or propagation of theories such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) as part of military training. 
  • No government building should raise any flag except the U.S. and military flags (except flags from foreign countries for official events, POW/MIA flag).
  • Ban woke recruitment content and the use of military social media accounts for activist content. Stop social media accounts of military accounts from posting on topics or issues that are not within their mission or are not recruitment messages. 
  • Study the role of social media on military servicemen and Department of Defense civilian workforce.
  • Expand school choice and parental rights for families with children in Department of Defense schools. 
  • Establish a "Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) Task Force" to review the curriculums of the service academies and training in the military. 
  • The entire Professional Military Education (PME) system produces substandard quality education. A critical first 100-days priority must be repealing the accreditation requirement for PME programs and to launch an immediate study to reforge all schools into competitive, rigorous, focused schools of operational and strategic excellence. Warfighting and lethality must be the overriding ethos of Professional Military Education and only the best should be allowed to graduate. 

IV. Focus Veteran Benefits on Supporting Veterans, Not a Social Agenda 

  • End equity plans that prioritize certain veterans for benefits over others based on their race.  

Restore Military Standards 

I. Recognize Differences Between Men and Women. Eliminate Racial Preferences in the Military. One Standard of Readiness. 

  • Require all military services to have physical qualifications according to gender neutral standards.  
  • Require statistical data transparency for performance and end any equity initiatives related to standards and readiness.
  • Ban race and gender quotas in military recruiting and promotions and mandate personnel decisions including accession, assignment, selection, and promotion based on merit. 
  • Establish Department of Defense service standards based on readiness. Select the best applicants regardless of identity categories, rather than engaging in racial preferencing policies.
  • Oppose any efforts to draft our daughters. 
  • Investigate any commander suspected of using racial or gender preferences in promotions. 

II. Reinstate Un-Vaccinated Servicemen 

  • Disallow the Pentagon from punishing troops based solely on their Covid-19 vaccination status, and allow troops who were kicked out for refusing the vaccine to reenter service with a changed reason for discharge and reinstatement to their prior rank from before they received punishment for their Covid-19 vaccination status.
  • Back pay active-duty members basic pay rates for time they missed as a result of punishment (discharged, separated, retired, or reassigned) for not receiving the Covid-19 vaccination. 

III. Prioritizing Lethality, Readiness, and Capabilities, Not Ideology and Climate Change 

  • The Department of Defense should never prioritize climate politics over national security and any environmental projects should require a cost--benefit analysis that prioritizes national security needs.
  • End activist climate change programs and focus on national security needs at-large.
  • End the requirement for Department of Defense contractors to track and slow their greenhouse gas emissions at the cost of readiness.
  • Stop EV funding that was initiated because of climate change activism rather than military readiness.
  • Stop funding programs for environmental justice. 

IV. Stop the Weaponization of Tools Intended to Root Out Legitimate Threats to Good Order and Discipline 

  • Maintain a proper enforcement of a Uniform Code of Military Justice and end the costly Biden Administration's Department of Defense Countering Extremism Working Group. 

Break the Swamp & Promote Accountability

  • Enforce Article 88 (Contempt Toward Officials) of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice which courts have found applies to retired generals and admirals. Any service member may be prosecuted for "contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present."
  • Cease issuing security clearances to retired Department of Defense senior leadership that go on network and cable news shows and who, as paid analysts, monetize and politicize their access to so-called "inside information." This should include removing security clearances from the 51 individuals who signed on to the Hunter Biden laptop "disinformation" letter in October 2020. 
  • Institute a cooling off period for Pentagon top officials both before and after their tenure from serving as military contractor board members and lobbyists. These officials are leveraging their Pentagon and security positions before and after they serve as civilians. 
  • Issue an executive order to fire immediately any high-ranking military or intelligence official who knowingly lies under oath to a federal official or Congress. No longer will there be zero consequences and lack of accountability. 
  • Fire immediately any joint chiefs officer who contacts an enemy counterpart without the knowledge of the president and overrides the authority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 
  • Within 6 months, the performance of all personnel in 4-star command and staff billets will be reviewed. Anyone determined to have promoted policies to the detriment of readiness and warfighting will be asked to resign or otherwise be removed from those positions. Similar reviews will be conducted over a longer time horizon for 3-star command and equivalent civilian SES positions.  

Turn the Tide Against Biden's Military Recruitment Crisis  

I. Restore National Pride in Our Military 

  • Use the "Bully Pulpit" to engage all Americans on the power and meaning of its all-volunteer fighting force and a meaningful, purpose-driven military force that will have the resources, backing of their Commander-in-Chief, and the American people to defend the Constitution and the United States. 
  • Develop a program for schools to teach that our military is and has been a force for justice and good in the world. 
  • Order the Department of Defense to collaborate with external organizations to encourage open expression of honest views on perceptions and morale from potential recruits, voluntary military departures, and current personnel. Special focus will be given to addressing the perception of politicization within the military. Currently, there is a significant lack of available data in this regard, and the existing data is exclusively controlled by the executive branch. To rectify this, a public disclosure of the problem's nature is necessary, allowing my administration to identify and correct any mistakes. This transparency will play a vital role in rebuilding trust and confidence among servicemembers, their families, and the broader American public. 

II. Expand Recruitment Programming

  • Expand JROTC programs and civics programs in secondary schools.
  • Work with the President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition to promote military recruitment.  
  • Allow military families to request the creation of educational savings accounts for their children.
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Deter CCP Aggression. Unleash Economic Potential. Defend the Homeland.



Ron DeSantis Stands With Israel

Support for Israel and The Jewish People




Ag Is Essential For America's Revival


$2 IN 2025




Ron DeSantis was a member of the United States Navy. Use of his military rank, job titles and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

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