Army Senior Leader Diversity: A Systems Analysis

  • Colonel Willie J. Flucker, Jr.

There exists within the Army officer corps an inadvertent system of diversity suppression that consistently produces a senior officer class far less racially diverse than its soldiers and the general public. This system is composed of structural barriers (institutional factors that exclude minorities to a greater extent than majority soldiers) and perceptual barriers (individual perceptions that lead minorities to think that they should not pursue an Army career). For African-Americans, these impediments are pervasive and interrelated. Sociological factors are also in operation, taking (or mistaking) unproven or unexplained institutional impediments to substantiate the consensus opinion in many black communities that pursuing a career as an Army officer means competing on an uneven playing field. Given these diversity suppression mechanics, a sustained, coordinated information and engagement campaign is required to produce an Army senior leader corps as ethnically diverse as its soldiers and the American people.