Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Study what it means, not just the numbers

I got about halfway through an article on NavyTimes.com this morning about ethnic diversity within military leadership. I would have read the whole thing but I was disgusted by how ludicrous, inane, asinine, etc one article could be. A report from 2009 said that 77% of leadership across the military is comprised of white males. The study, commissioned by Congress, claims this is caused by several factors, one of which is the inability for females to serve in combat positions. "Efforts over the years to develop a more equal opportunity military have increased the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities in the ranks of leadership. But, the report said, “despite undeniable successes ... the armed forces have not yet succeeded in developing a continuing stream of leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve.”

There is so much wrong with this article that I'm not really sure where to begin. Looking at the Air Force, for example, we have females in all levels of leadership. We don't have the combat positions of the Army. That doesn't apply to the Air Force nearly as much as other branches of service. I do not know about the Navy's level of combat positions and how that applies. Whether you like it or not, women and ment are anatomically and physiologically different. That means that not everyone is cut out for the same job at the same level. If a woman is capable of doing the job, then so be it. The lack of woman in combat positions is not military saying "we don't them there." It's about mission capability and that's the decision. Retired General Lyles commented how women never complained about missing combat or were anxious to get into it, by and large. They want to serve where their skills allow. Putting women into combat situations brings up other sticky issues. There are, very often, a lack of facilities in the field. Women would be forced to sleep, shower, and change in the same areas as men. Combat positions are, however, crucial to promotions at the highest levels of leadership.

77% are white males. How many African-Americans or Hispanics you ask? 8% and 5% respectively. Let's remember that this study was commissioned by Congress. And the rates among them? 9.5% and 3%. How can Congress complain about the percentage of whites leading the military when Congress has a higher percentage themselves? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It's not about discrimination. It is qualified individuals leading our military. The current commander of Second Air Force, which is responsible for Basic Military Training and Technical Training for EVERY single enlistee, is Major General Mary Hertog. It is safe to say that women are making an impact in the military environment.

Of the 435 members of Congress only 121 have military experience as well. That is a mere 27%.

Given the current economic climate and government or military budget cuts, is an independent study like this the smartest and most worthwhile use of our resources?

This post was not well thought out and had a terrible flow. This is due to the insanity of the article and the personal offense I take with it. One of my two greatest military heroes during my career was a female, Major Keren Preston. I love her as a person. I respect her as a leader and she has helped shape me throughout my career into the best possible Non-Commissioned Officer I can be. Oh, and she's African American.

EDIT: I forgot about the promotion system. For enlisted personnel, there are several factors - time in grade, time in service, 2 tests, awards/decorations, performance reports. Your career is in your hands. For officers, there are boards, there are things the individual can do to improve scores. Personal readiness and physical fitness play a part. Once again, career is in your own hands. As someone mentioned to me, once an officer is selected for General, it requires an act of Congress to approve. So if Congress doesn't see enough of a particular demographic in leadership positions... maybe it's THEM.

Always remember, if the opposite of pro is con. What's the opposite of progress?

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