The members of the U.S. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel have called on the leaders of the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps to increase the number of women and minorities in leadership positions, particularly in senior officer ranks.
Subcommittee member Rep. Veronica Escobar said that while Latinos are well represented in the armed forces, only 8% of military officers are Latinos. Moreover, only 2% of Latinos reach the ranks of a flag officer or general. Army G-1 Personnel Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamans said they are already working to improve the representation of Hispanics in the officer corps but it will take time.
Marine Corps’ Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Lt. Gen. Michael Rocco explained that they are doing well very well on senior enlistment but not on the officer side. He said they have less than 100 general officers and 15 of them are from diverse backgrounds. They include thee Asians, three Hispanics, five African-Americans and four women.
For the Air Force, Manpower, Personnel and Services Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly said they have already identified the barriers that prevent minority officers from advancing to higher ranks and have launched a program to address the problem. He explained that they are pairing young minority leaders to mentors with similar interests and backgrounds. These mentors will be responsible for ensuring that their mentees know what to do after reaching mid-level ranks so that they can advance to senior officer roles.