US military 'too white, too male'

2011-03-08 14:15

Washington - The US 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 on Monday.

Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8% are black, 5% are Hispanic and 16% are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.

One barrier that keeps women from the highest ranks is their inability to serve in combat units. Promotion and job opportunities have favoured those with battlefield leadership credentials.

The report ordered by Congress in 2009 demands greater diversity among the military's leaders so it the service will reflect better the racial, ethnic and gender mix in the armed forces and in American society.

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".

"This problem will only become more acute as the racial, ethnic and cultural makeup of the United States continues to change," said the report from the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, whose more than two dozen members included current and former military personnel as well as businessmen and other civilians.

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

Undefined battlefields

Among recommendations is that the military eliminate policies that exclude women from combat units, phasing in additional career fields and units that they can be assigned to as long as they are qualified.

A 1994 combat exclusion policy bans women from being assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level even though women have for years served in combat situations.

"If you look at today's battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's not like it was in the Cold War, when we had a defined battlefield," retired Air Force General Lester L Lyles, the commission's chairperson, said in an interview.

"Women serve - and they lead - military security, military police units, air defence units, intelligence units, all of which have to be right there with combat veterans in order to do the job appropriately."

Because they are technically attached to, but not assigned to, combat units, they do not get credit for being in combat arms, which is important for promotion to the most senior ranks.

Lyles said the commission consulted a panel of enlisted women on the issue. "I didn't hear, 'Rah, rah, we want to be in combat'," Lyles said. "But I also didn't hear, 'We don't want to be in combat'. What they want is an equal opportunity to serve where their skills allow them to serve."

Stretching the definition of diversity, the report also said the military must harness people with a greater range of skills and backgrounds in, for instance, cyber systems, languages and cultural knowledge to be able to operate in an era of new threats and to collaborate with international partners and others.

  • lakhan7 - 2011-03-08 14:19

    In America, Native Americans should mostly be recognised. ( Red Indians )

      theoldmanofthemountains - 2011-03-08 14:41


      zaibatsu - 2011-03-08 15:49

      They should be recognised because they are the rightful inhabitants of that land. Like South Africa, where the San Bushmen are the only natives to South Africa, the wrong people are being victimized and the wrong people are being pushed as the victim. White and black in both cases are not entirely innocent. Blacks are supposed to be the big victim in SA, but how often do you hear them refer to colored people as not even human!

  • BTRX - 2011-03-08 14:42

    And then they want to tell me racial issues only exist in SA. What a lot of bull. Please watch any movie produced lately. U will never find a black (perhaps only if the major roll is played by one) that is the guilty party. Oh we feel so guilty about being white, we will try anything just to be political correct!!

      Ross - 2011-03-08 14:54

      The Judge, Sheriff, Public Prosecutor and City Mayor are mostly black in the movies. I suspect that the average White American is also gatvol.

      Nebkad - 2011-03-08 15:08

      @BTRX - Any movie where White is guilty?

      Balsakhater - 2011-03-08 16:24

      America - Population = +-270 mil. only 30mil non-white. that is why they can get away with it. RSA population = +- 50mil only 8 mil whites

      dickson.nyoro - 2011-03-08 16:44

      The problem in South Africa is that peace came by way of truce (= compromise). I will illustrate by example: I abduct your wife and kids and put them to work for me. You fight me. I realise I am going to get a good beating. I negotiate with you and we agree to reconcile. We have peace. I keep the wife and kids. Fair? Sustainable?

  • AA - 2011-03-08 14:51

    Amazing how the whites always get criticized. When they show successful raids on the news guess what color are most of the cops. When they are the other color and they make the news you end up with what happened at the nightclub in Melville. Shame, shame shame. Everybody hates the white but know where to go when they need help.

      roughneck - 2011-03-08 15:35

      So true

      Judgmental - 2011-03-08 15:38

      Every night before I go to sleep I say a little prayer and it always starts with "Thank GOD I am not a BLACKMAN AMEN"

  • bosegoos - 2011-03-08 14:58

    Oh Gosh, I thought it is only in this mixed-up country where we get this kind of nonsense.

      Stickso - 2011-03-08 16:17

      @Judgmental you are a PINK MAN, ha ha ha

  • valleyman - 2011-03-08 15:02

    Have the ANC opened a branch in Washington now? Sure looks like it.

  • - 2011-03-08 15:04

    its not how qualified you are or how good you are at something...anymore. Now everything is just based on the colour (or should i spell it color in this case) of your skin. sad sad sad!

  • Souf-Efrikan - 2011-03-08 15:06

    Oh-no, did Me Sisulu pay a visit to the US recently? Wait till the US war veterans want the last few pennies in the budget... SA could help them out by sending some of our "not too white and not too male" generals over to help them get their quotas correct!!

  • catij001 - 2011-03-08 15:20

    Considering that 77% of North America is white, it only seems fair doesn't it. However, considering that they stole the country from Native Americans, they should consider them for posts in military or commercial jobs. Something to ponder on and anyone who knows the history of SA would know this. If it wasn't for the SADF in the 70's and 80's, SA would belong to Communist countries now and the 'revolution' that 'we' are so proud of would never have happened. Most of black South Africans would either have been killed or would have been slaves now and their culture totally forgotten. So while they keep on preeching that old SA cheated them out of a future they should consider that perhaps they were saved, albeit not in the true sense of the word.

      omgwtfnews - 2011-03-08 16:10

      Actually - by 2050 whites in America will become a minority group..

  • Piet - 2011-03-08 15:22

    US - keep your Army white, at least then they can fight...hehehehe. In SA they are black, very easy to snmack......hehehehe

      GTFO - 2011-03-08 16:36


  • Proffie - 2011-03-08 15:23

    Offer Manyi a job in the US armed forces, he'll sort your demographics out chop chop. We have zillions of coloureds in the Cape to spare (according to Manyi) I'm sure they could be made generals, teeth or no teeth.

      Piet - 2011-03-08 16:21


  • The Patriot - 2011-03-08 16:01

    There it is then, butch woman and black men to the front. One way to get rid of the gay and black population in America. Send them to war, let the Caucasian men sit at home and drink to their clever plan to cleanse America of these usurpers.

  • kgomo49 - 2011-03-08 16:05

    Looks like whites everywhere are waking up to reality.unlike SA, they voted in a black president.tranformation are already taking place, US postal service are 80%black.

  • GTFO - 2011-03-08 16:34

    white males are probably the most hated species in this world....

  • james4usa - 2011-03-08 16:56

    There is a reason, Black H/School dropout 52%, 70% illigitamacy rate. IQ 15 points below whites.

  • Andy49 - 2011-03-08 17:04

    Interesting to note that in the good old USofA there was a mass movement for MINORITY rights, yet in Africa more especially Central (Zambia/Zimbabwe) & South Africa there were mas movements calling for MAJORITY RULE. Seems to me like the non whites of this world want the best of both. How many whites are still serving in the current SANDF or SAPS?

  • wgibsonsa - 2011-03-09 08:16

    I would love to see a couple of female combatants captured behind enemy lines. Should be very interesting to a couple of sex starved enemy troops. This could be new twist on make love not war. Stupid yanks.

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