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U.S. Air Force begins second disparity review survey

Each Airman and Guardian should have the opportunity to thrive, said Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth in the announcement of the second review on diversity and disparity in the military. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI UPI/Mike Theiler
"Each Airman and Guardian should have the opportunity to thrive," said Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth in the announcement of the second review on diversity and disparity in the military. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI UPI/Mike Theiler | License Photo

April 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force began a survey on Friday for its second Inspector General's report on diversity and disparity in its ranks.

The review was ordered by Air Force leadership and follows a 2020 report, which focused on racial disparity among Black members of the military branch. The second survey expands the focus to gender and other ethnicities, an Air Force statement on Friday said.

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The initial report, begun in April 2020 and released in December, found that Black men at every level of the service experience disproportionately negative outcomes at nearly every level.

It noted, among other data, that enlisted Black airmen were 72% more likely than their White counterparts to receive non-judicial punishments for their commanding officers and 57% more likely than White airmen to face a court-martial.

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Black airmen were also less likely to be placed in operational career fields, such as pilots, and overrepresented in support career fields, where they are less likely to be offered key career development opportunities.

"Each Airman and Guardian should have the opportunity to thrive," said Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth in the announcement of the second review. "As a Department, we need to understand what is happening, so we can knock down barriers to success. That process requires listening and gathering the facts."

The review will use anonymous online surveys, targeted interviews, targeted small-group surveys and a comprehensive review of available data, as did the 2020 review.

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The statement on Friday said that the Defense Department has been "deliberately addressing the findings and recommendations in the [2020] report" and has taken "meaningful and lasting corrective actions."

Branches of the U.S. military have been involved in numerous analyses, and corrections in policy, regarding disparities in the ranks, motivated largely by U.S. civil unrest in the summer of 2020 and the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In February 2021, a 60-day military stand down was ordered to deal with extremism in the military's ranks. Also in February, the U.S. Army began a re-evaluation of its standard Army Combat Fitness Test, which some contend puts female Army personnel at a disadvantage.

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