Pentagon: There Are Too Many White Males In Special Forces


But, as you ascend the ranks, the percentage of blacks descend. They only comprise 9.4 percent overall of officers within the military. In the SEALs, only 2 percent are black. Interestingly, Native Americans comprise 4 percent of that commando unit.

But in the Air Force, among para-rescuers, the number drops even further down to .6 percent. The Pentagon considers this to be a problem.

“We don’t know where we will find ourselves in the future,” said Army Col. Michael Copenhaver. “One thing is for sure: We will find ourselves around the globe. And around the globe you have different cultural backgrounds everywhere. Having that kind of a diverse force can only increase your operational capability.”

Copenhaver wrote a paper in 2014 arguing that integrating minorities into Special Operations Forces would help address national security threats because those minorities would have specific knowledge of culture in a given deployment area. “It’s imperative that top military leaders from each service review the approach to minority representation across the force and how the military can adapt to meet the demands of the future,” Copenhaver stated.

The Pentagon in general has made bolstering diversity a major priority in the last several years, with Defense Secretary Ash Carter leading the charge with public pronouncements about the benefits of a diverse force and a recent decision to review the ban on transgender servicemembers. The military, Carter has argued, needs to reflect the demographic makeup of the future. As such, the services have made a concerted effort to favor minorities, assigning more weight to race when considering officer promotions.

Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, gave a speech at the Aspen Security Conference in July, in which he argued very forwardly that ”SOCOM needs diversity, we need people of color, we need men, we need women to help us solve the problems that we deal with today,” Votel said. “So we need good people; men, women, people of all colors.”

Photo: Official U.S. Navy Page



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