Army Reserve Leadership Diversity in the 21st Century

  • September 15, 2015
  • Colonel Lee P. Gearhart

Diversity is key to The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World, the Army Vision--Force 2025 and Beyond, and the U.S. Army Human Dimension Operating Concept. The Army Reserve (AR) is a diverse force that represents and serves the American people well. This study examined AR Gender and Race/Ethnic Group representation within the force by leadership opportunity. A leadership diversity gap was found with regard to female and minority opportunities. While Gender and Race/Ethnic Group trends were encouraging, more work remains regarding opportunities and advancement to senior rank. Females were significantly less likely to advance to senior officer rank and serve in key officer or Non-Commissioned Officer positions. Further, Blacks and Hispanics were significantly underrepresented overall in the officer ranks and their numbers contracted as they progressed to more senior ranks, as did their representation in key leadership positions. The inverse is true for Whites who were overrepresented in the officer ranks and their representation strengthened as they progressed to more senior ranks, where their percentages in key leadership positions remained robust.