Congressional Report Says Military Leadership Is Too White, Too Male
A report ordered by Congress says the military is too white and too male at the top.
Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.
One barrier that keeps women from the highest ranks is their inability to serve in combat units. Promotion and job opportunities have favored those with battlefield leadership credentials.
The report ordered by Congress in 2009 calls for greater diversity in the military’s leadership so it will better reflect the racial, ethnic and gender mix in the armed forces and in American society.
This will be a bigger problem as the country becomes more diverse, if the military doesn’t. One recommendation is to stop excluding women from combat units.
“This problem will only become more acute as the racial, ethnic and cultural makeup of the United States continues to change,” said the report from the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, whose more than two dozen members included current and former military personnel as well as businessmen and other civilians.
Having military brass that better mirrors the nation can inspire future recruits and help create trust among the general population, the commission said.