With constant worries about new wars breaking out around the world, military recruitment is back in the spotlight in many countries, particularly in the western alliance. This is particularly true in Great Britain, where the ranks of the army and air force have been depleted through attrition. The Royal Air Force is having more trouble than the other branches, however. New “diversity” mandates for the Air Force put in place by Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston have made it almost impossible for the RAF to reach its recruiting goals. The alleged policy in question states that job offers will not be made to white males. This has led the RAF’s head of recruitment to resign, claiming that the targets are “impossible” and the policy is endangering national security. But RAF spokesmen are refuting the claim. (The Blaze)
The head of recruitment for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, a senior female officer, has reportedly resigned in protest of a diversity policy critics say has set “impossible” targets and jeopardized U.K. national security.
White male applicants are being excluded from job offers in the RAF under diversity guidelines set by Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Sky News reported. Sources who spoke to the outlet complained that diversity targets set by air force leadership have led to hiring restrictions that are threatening military preparedness, comparing the situation to the pre-World War II era.
“Then you look at the head of the RAF and he’s prepared to break the operational requirement of the air force just to meet diversity [targets],” one source said.
There was an official policy change, but it dealt with “goals” in terms of diversity. Recruiters were told to aim for an increase in the ratio of female recruits joining all of the armed forces to 30% by 2030. The RAF set a more ambitious goal, calling for 40% of new recruits to be women by the end of the decade. But the policy didn’t specifically say that no white men could be enlisted. It did, however, set a goal of 20% of all recruits being “non-whites” by 2030.
The now-former head of recruiting claims that the policy was more unofficial in nature, but just as serious. She said that she was “pressured” to “pause extending job offers to white male applicants” and make up the difference with female and minority applicants. But they simply weren’t getting enough qualified applicants who were not white males to reach the existing goals.
A spokesman for the RAF told reporters that the claim was untrue, but sounded rather vague about the details. They said, “There is no pause in Royal Air Force recruitment and no new policy with regards to meeting in-year recruitment requirements.” That statement could refer to what is being claimed by the departing head of recruitment, but it could also simply be a reference to the total number of recruits they were seeking.
Are those target figures even realistic? A quick look at the UK’s own racial diversity statistics shows that Great Britain doesn’t have a very diverse population. Nearly nine out of ten Brits (87%) are white. So getting the Air Force to the point where a quarter of their recruits are minorities is going to be a challenge. The breakdown between men and women is fairly even, but the British culture hasn’t historically seen significant numbers of women seeking military careers.
Cultural change in any country is an evolutionary process that plays out over time. While it has accelerated rapidly in the United States over the past half-century, change has clearly been far slower in the United Kingdom. And you can’t make changes like that take place simply by issuing a memo. It has to happen organically. It sounds as if the leadership in the RAF tried to push this through using unofficial channels and got caught when a high-ranking officer complained about it.