A few friends sent me links today about the shortage of Black officers in the military.
LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer published a story (7/23/08) titled “After 60 years, black officers are rare”
A few months ago I wrote an Op-Ed that addressed the current recruiting woes; as a means to bring about conversations that will lead young people to consider military service.
The first version (More than ever, black men should consider military service) appeared in the Petersburg Progress-Index here in December 2007.
I updated it (Combating the Trends: Military Service Can Alleviate What Ails Black America) and it ran in the Richmond Times-Dispatch here on 1/27/08.
An excerpt from my RTD OpEd…
Additionally, I’m concerned by the rapid decline in black enlistment rates (20 percent in 2001 to about 12 percent today; officer commissions are down to 8 percent). This will result in a less diverse senior leadership in about 20 years, and fewer families benefiting from Army service.
This week I’m attending the UNITY ’08 conference of journalists in Chicago. I certainly hope to find great earned media opportunities so we can buck the current trend on enlistment and officer commissionings. One of the solutions for retention and mentoring of officers is The Rocks, Inc. Great generals like Colin Powell, Julius Becton, Johnnie Wilson, and others have benefited from the two-way mentorship opportunities in the Rocks.
What do you think about the news reports? Were you aware that the #2 General in Iraq is African-American? Does is matter if we have a diverse force?
The military truly values diversity and all of us as Americans have a stake in this fight. I believe education of the general public is a great start to increasing our accessions. Let’s go!
ADVISORY: I’m NOT a military recruiter…but will put you in touch with one if you want
UPDATE1: Here’s an article from a DoD source that paints a positive picture of opportunties for minorities in the military.