At the end of 2020, the Defense Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Board released a report aimed at identifying ways to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. military.
Among the report’s findings: The enlisted ranks of the active and reserve military were “slightly more racially and ethnically diverse than its U.S. civilian counterparts.” But not the officer corps. Furthermore, it found that the civilian population eligible to become commissioned officers was “less racially and ethnically diverse than the civilian population eligible for enlisted service.”
The breakdown of all active commissioned officers: 73% white; 8% each Black and Hispanic; 6% Asian; 4% multiracial; and less than 1% Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native. And the diversity gap widened the higher individuals moved up in the ranks.
The report emphasized the increasing importance of the representation of minorities reflecting the nation’s morphing demographics, saying the Defense Department “must ensure that all service members have access to opportunities to succeed and advance into leadership positions.”