Green Room

Is military leadership “too white and too male?”

posted at 11:31 am on March 8, 2011 by

Welcome to the new military – an affirmative action organization, that is if a certain panel gets its way:

The U.S. military is too white and too male at the top and needs to change recruiting and promotion policies and lift its ban on women in combat, an independent report for Congress said Monday.

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.

So?

Is it working?

I think an unqualified “yes” is the answer.

We sort of have to stop and talk about some basic things when we see a report like this.  And the first is “what is the purpose of the military – diversity or victory”?  Playing this sort of numbers game is stupid in an all volunteer force which has the job of defending the country.  We’re not talking the university campus or some corporate board.

What you want is the best leaders to rise to the top.  That isn’t to say that always happens, but to pretend that there’s an “acceptable” mix of ethnicity, race and gender that will optimize that leadership and improve the military is simply silly.

I object to this report not because it says we should allow women to serve in combat units – that’s an entirely different argument.  I object to it because of the stupidity of the premise that diversity is more important than effectiveness, especially in military matters.

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.

It isn’t the job of a military to “reflect [the] racial, ethnic and gender mix” of the nation in its leadership. Its job is to field the best military and military leadership it can, close with and destroy enemies of the US and protect and defend its citizens and way of life.   So it must reflect the best leadership available for the job REGARDLESS of race, ethnicity or gender.  On its face the report’s premise is just silly.  Women make up how much of the society in general?  50+%?

So in the name of diversity, given the panel’s statements,  50+% of the leadership in the Armed Forces should be women, regardless of their abilities or capacity to lead in combat?

That’s simply nonsense on a stick.  The military is and must remain a meritocracy.  And while I know that the very best don’t always rise to the top, a good enough portion of them do. And, shock of shocks, it all somehow works.  That’s what we want to encourage and continue REGARDLESS of race, ethnicity or gender.

Playing diversity games just to have pleasing numbers in “leadership” is nonsense, especially if there is no real need for it.

Having military brass that better mirrors the nation can inspire future recruits and help create trust among the general population, the commission said.

Even more nonsense.  Having a military that they can depend on to kick an enemy’s rear effectively, quickly and efficiently is what will and does create “trust among the general population”.  And by the way, even with 10 years of war the military isn’t having any problem attracting or inspiring recruits with the leadership is has today.

Here’s a little thought provoker for you.  You own an NBA team.  Some independent panel asks:  “Is the NBA to black and to male”?

Compared to the race, gender and ethnicity of “America”? You bet it is.

But, what is the purpose of an NBA team?  To win basketball games and thereby put fans in the stands and make money.

However, in the the name of diversity, you require your team to reflect the race, ethnicity and gender numbers in the nation (other owners -liken them to other countries, like our enemies – refuse to go along with that nonsense).  Someone tell me how many games that team (remember it can only be 14% black and has to be 50% female) is going to win the next season, even though it will reflect “America?”

Any questions?


Bruce McQuain blogs at Questions and Observations (QandO), Blackfive, the Washington Examiner and the Green Room.  Follow him on Twitter: @McQandO

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The White House has no leadership. I say we replace the whole crew there.

SouthernGent on March 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I object to this report not because it says we should allow women to serve in combat units – that’s an entirely different argument. I object to it because of the stupidity of the premise that diversity is more important than effectiveness, especially in military matters.

My support for women in combat is heavily qualified. If you do it right, by having women bunk together until their menstrual cycles synch, you could conquer the world — provided you time it right. ;)

gryphon202 on March 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

If the military is mostly made up of males and whites, how exactly isn’t that a fair representation?

At my last unit before I retired, in the six years I was in the unit we had:

3 Senior Enlisted Advisors (Air Force Chiefs – E9). One white and two black.

At the flight level, I had four Superintendents: Two white, one black and one hispanic.

At the Wing level, three Chiefs held the SEA post, one white and two black.

At every level of my career, even going all the way back to 1987 when I first entered the service, ‘minorities’ held at least equal positions of leadership at all levels. Hell, even my TI in basic training was a Puerto Rican (Hispanic).

Woman, almost the same thing. But again, there are more men than woman in the service, so where’s the disparity?

If anything, there seemed to be an over-representation of minorities in leadership positions (and certain ranks) if you base such things on simple demographics and statistics.

More men enter the service. More whites enter the service. More men and whites enter military academies or enroll in other avenues for the officer ranks.

Ridiculous.

NOTE: This is based on my Air Force experience. Other members of others services may or may not have noticed the same thing.

catmman on March 8, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I believe also that basketball is too heightist. It would be far better for NBA players to mirror the American people in stature.

cthulhu on March 8, 2011 at 1:12 PM

How strange. It doesn’t list the racial/gender makeup of the military as a whole for comparison. I guess we’re only supposed to compare the military leadership with society at large.

JavelinaBomb on March 8, 2011 at 1:15 PM

). Someone tell me how many games that team (remember it can only be 14% black and has to be 50% female) is going to win the next season, even though it will reflect “America?”

White alone
(of which 30.4 million are White Hispanic and Latino Americans.
Excluding these, this category comprises 65.0% or 199.3 million) 74.8% 229.8 million
Black or African American alone 12.4% 38.1 million
Asian alone 4.5% 13.8 million
American Indian or Alaska Native alone 0.8% 2.5 million
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander alone 0.15% 0.454 million
Some other race alone 4.9% 14.9 million
Two or more races 2.4% 7.5 million

Count to 10 on March 8, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Can we always have someone from Blackfive come to blog for military issues? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

RachDubya on March 8, 2011 at 2:54 PM

My support for women in combat is heavily qualified. If you do it right, by having women bunk together until their menstrual cycles synch, you could conquer the world — provided you time it right.

gryphon202 on March 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

usually that is called Basic Training and AIT.

upinak on March 8, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Propose solving the problem by drafting the elite kids before they go into the Ivy League Collages.

We won’t hear about this nonsense again for years, I’d bet.

LarryD on March 8, 2011 at 4:32 PM

My support for women in combat is heavily qualified. If you do it right, by having women bunk together until their menstrual cycles synch, you could conquer the world — provided you time it right. ;)

gryphon202 on March 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

usually that is called Basic Training and AIT.

upinak on March 8, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Can I play this game too?

Wait a few days after the menstrual cycle, and you have women at the peak of their fertility. The enemy soldiers will be overcome by the pheromones, throw down their weapons, and start attempting to seduce these women. Then our guys can come in, quickly dispatch the enemy soldiers, and be amply rewarded by the female soldiers. None months later, we have a new crop of future soldiers.

PrettyD_Vicious on March 8, 2011 at 5:23 PM

After Desert Storm I worked for a Personnel function in DC. I was a sort of secretary for the Boards that select senior enlisted personnel. There was a requirement (not a quota mind you) that a certain percentage of minorities and women get selected. The obvious exceptions were combat specialties, lack of any representation, and the needs of the U.S.

More than once the quota system trumped superior qualifications and experience. In one case, an Opticalman Senior Chief female was promoted over three men, and the men all had better evaluations, qualifications, etc. The Opticalman rating is a small community and all of these people knew each other. It ruined personal relationships.

What happens when we force Rangers, SEaLs, and Special Forces to promote on such a quota?

Bigurn on March 8, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Bigurn on March 8, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Which is really the 800lb gorilla in the room.

There have always been, rumors mind you, of just such a thing happening – for promotions, awards, position selections – you name it.

catmman on March 8, 2011 at 5:45 PM

this is about something that ryhmes with “space bar”

White and Male is so old America, and that scares the new ruling class. So, the military has to be controlled by the Helen Kelly Joneses of the world.

joeindc44 on March 8, 2011 at 5:47 PM

My proposal, crossposted from what I wrote on Blackfive:

The solution is simple. Reinstate the draft with the goal being to meet the racial and ethnic goals identified by the report. First in line should be people who are in, or who attended, those schools who have in the past banned ROTC from campus; this will also serve the purpose of creating ideological diversity. Note that, since the goal includes diversity at the higher ranks, that these draftees will not be allowed to leave military service short of 30-year retirement, unless discharged by verdict of a court marital.

Sound fair to everyone?

next on Mythbusters: the only color in the Army is Green

malclave on March 8, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Fort Hood? How did that work out?

nazo311 on March 9, 2011 at 2:47 AM

They really are out to destroy this country.

Boxy_Brown on March 9, 2011 at 1:24 PM