Military Generals Call for Increased Diversity, Encourage More Women in Combat

(Kim Jun-bum/Yonhap via AP, File)

Does a group’s racial or identity makeup improve its ability to kill people and break things?

Reportedly, General Mark Milley believes Yes — diversity, as it is often heralded, constitutes its own strength.

Several high-ranking generals appear to agree.

Speaking at a Howard University ROTC commissioning ceremony Wednesday, Gen. Mark called for necessary change.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asserted the military needs more black Air Force pilots.

Additionally in short supply: black members among senior ranks.

He insisted, “We must get better.”

Mark ran down the numbers: When Gen. Charles Q. Brown — the Air Force’s current chief of staff — was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1984, only 2% of Air Force pilots were black.

Fast-forward to 2021, and that number has risen to…2%.

As noted by Military.com, last summer, Charles made history: Heroically, he became the first black military service chief.

In a June video ruminating on George Floyd’s death and America’s outcry, the man emotionally recalled his challenges in life and the Air Force:

“[R]arely, I had a mentor that looked like me. … [M]ost of my mentors cannot relate to my experience as an African American. I’m thinking about the pressure I felt to perform…especially for supervisors I perceived had expected less of me as an African American. I’m thinking of having to represent by working twice as hard, to prove their expectations and perceptions of African Americans were invalid. “

“[M]y nomination provides some hope,” he said, “but also comes with a heavy burden. I can’t fix centuries of racism in our country, nor can I fix decades of discrimination that may have affected members of our Air Force.”

And how has that discrimination raised its head? Gen. Mark observed the military is roughly 20% black, but only two of 41 four-star generals and admirals are black.

His conclusion:

“Opportunity in our military must be reflective of the diverse talent in order for us to remain strong. Our nation is ready to fulfill the promise of our Constitution to build a more perfect union and to ensure equal justice for all people…”

Mark issued a challenge to the ROTC cadets at Howard:

“[I]t is your generation that can and will bring the joint force to be truly inclusive of all people.”

The military is definitely working on it.

Inclusion’s on the docket, by way of social progress.

For examples, see below:

Military in Motion: The U.S. Navy Adds Antiracist Books to Its Official Reading List

Nipping Sexism in the BUD/S: Navy SEAL Ethos Goes Gender-Neutral, Drops Toxically Masculine Terms

Be All You Can Be: U.S. Army Announces the Allowance of Lipstick, Nail Polish, and Better Breastfeeding

Related to race, January saw another triumph: Lloyd J. Austin became the first black person to hold the esteemed position of Secretary of Defense.

Sec. Lloyd’s press secretary — John Kirby — explained to Military.com that his superior agrees with Gen. Mark.

Racial inequities, John conveyed, will be addressed:

“The secretary believes this has got to be a concerted effort, an every day effort, and it’s got to be led. If leaders across the department don’t take this on as a personal commitment, it’s not going to change.”

As relayed by John, Lloyd, too, values diversity’s strength:

“It is important for the force to look like the country it serves — absolutely. But he strongly believes diversity is a readiness issue because it allows different perspectives, additional context, different lived experiences to inform the way we make decisions, the policies that we craft, the operations that we lead.”

Yet, the service has long been integrated — it did so in 1948.

Still, as stated by the outlet, the racial makeup is curiously imbalanced:

According to 2018 Pentagon data, nearly 24% of the Army’s enlisted force was Black, and about 17% was Hispanic. But those numbers drop as rank increases. According to the 2018 data, just 10% of the officer corps was Black and 8.6% was Hispanic.

Obviously, any discrimination of skin color must be rooted out.

Also in need, per Maj. Gen. John Evans, commander of Army Cadet Command: women in combat.

“We’re trying to encourage our female officers and our officers that are ethnically diverse to choose combat arms branches to provide greater opportunities for them in the long term.”

How do you convince females they want to partake in such? Perhaps that remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the service is absolutely changing.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd is set to see to it:

-ALEX

 

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