According to a new research sponsored by the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and Rand Corporation highlights that troop cuts could reduce gains made in racial and gender diversity of the military since the 1990s. The report, titled “Force Draw downs and Demographic Diversity: Investigating the Impact of Force Reductions on the Demographic Diversity of the U.S. Military,” looked at multiple draw down scenarios to examine the potential effects on women and racial minorities. The cuts to “non tactical operations” jobs could have an adverse effect on female and black service members, and in some cases, Hispanic service members. Cuts involving troops with longer service could adversely affect black personnel, but cuts to troops with shorter service could adversely affect women. Tightening test standards as part of a strategy to cut recruitment could also result in adverse impact on female, black and Hispanic recruits. Under budget pressure, the Army is planning to reduce from about 490,000 currently to 450,000 by the end of 2017, and possibly to 420,000 by 2019 thus creating the smallest Army since before World War II.
The Marine Corps and the Air Force are also planning workforce reductions, although they will be smaller. “During major draw down periods, the services must balance reducing the budget, ensuring fair treatment for current service members and retaining people with the right skills,” said Maria C. Lytell, lead author of the study and a senior behavioral scientist at Rand. “One aspect that hasn’t been factored in much during past draw downs is retaining a demographically diverse workforce,” she said. The cuts are expected to rely more on separations versus lowering recruitment as with previous draw downs in the 1990s.The services are limited in how they can use demographic information in the cuts.
Article Contributed By
Celso Pacheco & Naved Jafry