And does it without ever using the word…
From the Jackson MS Clarion-Ledger:
Poor education is a major threat to national security, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Thursday.
“Three out of four young people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the United States cannot qualify to join the military,” Mabus told a meeting of The Clarion-Ledger editorial board. “You can’t join the military today without a high school diploma, yet one-third of the people in our country don’t finish high school. Others can’t join because of obesity or having a criminal record. We can’t remain a great country as long as that is the case. We’re on a very dangerous path if we keep going down that way.”
While CNO and CJCS sincerely talk diversity, and tend to mean “look like”, Secretary Mabus is hitting on the impediment to realizing a vision of a qualified military that “looks like” the country: most of those who enlistment and commissioning age are inelegible for one reason or another.
It’s easy, and dishonest, statistics to press for a Navy that looks the same as the Nation, while at the same time ignoring the realities of the whole population demographic.
Today’s racial demographics are
The looked at statistics for the 2030 demographic of ethnic and racial makeup in the United States are
The most challenging area of meeting the goal of looks is within the officer corps – which has a higher standard for entry. The most immutable one is a college degree. Which brings two other relevant statistics to look at…today’s officer corps, and the number of degrees conferred annualy.
Number of degrees conferred 2007-2008:
American Indian/Native Alaskan .7%
Nonresident alien 2.8%
Which places the officer corps overall at a 1% “deficit” for Blacks and a 2% “deficit” for Hispanics.
And, in order to be able to make up that deficit, there are two options – access Blacks and Hispanics with lower grade point averages than their white peers, and immediately place them at a disadvantage, or get colleges to more provide eligible graduates who meet the criteria for a commission. For Blacks, that comes out to 3,436 more college graduates (in order to make the 864 likley to be eligible, much less have the propensity to join). For Hispanics it would mean 4,320 more graduates. Out of 152,000 and 123,000 respectively – or a 2% increase in the overall number of black college graduates, and a 3.5% increase in Hispanic graduates.
I’ve not done the numbers of students by race who start, but never complete college…but you get the picture. Education is just one facet. Obesity. Mental and psychological problems. Drug use. All of those issues lead to a smaller population that is even capable of joining the force. And until those issues are addressed, we cannot, and will not – no matter how hard our recruiters work – have a force that looks like America.
Now, back to Secretary Mabus – he has not lobbied for or received a single award for Diversity that I can find – he never speaks about it, comments on it. Yet, in a single speech that never mentions the word once, he hits the nail on the head for what Navy needs in order to have a not just a force that looks like America – but a force that is capable of meeting the Navy’s statutory mission.
None of this is commentary on whether the optics of the force are a worthy goal or not…they are the goal that has been labled by CNO as our “number one priority”. However, in my rambling and disjointed way, I think we’d (the Navy, the government, parents, and our own selves) be far better served to work on the recommendations in this report than to seek awards and accolades.
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