Beyond Race and Gender: A Critical Evaluation of Officer Diversity

  • Lieutenant Colonel Paul Dudley Noyes

Diversity is a powerful term advocated by an even stronger socio-political constituency. For some it portends a brighter, more resilient future. For others, it augurs a juggernaut on collision course with mediocrity. For most however, it arouses neither apprehension nor elation. Focusing on U.S. military officers, this strategy research project (SRP) reviews the current Department of Defense (DoD) and services’ definitions of diversity, then it considers how recent considerations of diversity have impacted the race and gender representations in the officer corps. Following a “deep dive” into U.S. Census data, it analyzes how concerns about diversity have shaped policies and perceptions regarding the demographic make-up of our nation’s population, which many believe our military should “reflect”. Overall, it addresses the question of how far the DoD has gone–and should go–to promote diversity in its officer corps.