Air Force sets diversity goals for officer applicant pool

The service is asking the Air Force Academy and Air Education and Training Command to come up with a plan by the end of September.

The Air Force is setting aspirational goals on diversity for those applying to be officers in the service.

The benchmarks increase the number of minorities and women who are serving commissioned positions in the Air Force, a sector that has been traditionally dominated by white men.

The Air Force’s top civilian and military officials are asking the Air Force Academy and Air Education and Training Command to come up with plans to reach the goals by the end of September.

“It is imperative that the composition of our military services better reflect our nation’s highly talented, diverse, and eligible population,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in a memo. “This goal continues our progress toward achieving a force more representative of our nation, while leveraging that diversity to enhance the Air and Space Force’s ability to deter, and if necessary, deny our nation’s competitors.”

For the whole force, the service would like officer applicants to hit goals of:

  • 67.5% white
  • 13% Black
  • 10% Asian
  • 1.5% Native American
  • 0.5% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 15% Hispanic or Latino

The Air Force goals signify the applicant pool would ideally be 64% male and 36% female.

The memo further breaks down goals by gender and race/ethnicity together. The current makeup of the Air Force officer corps is:

  • 23% female and 77% male
  • 77% white
  • 6% Black
  • 5.7% Asian
  • 3.5% multiracial
  • 0.5% Native American
  • 0.5% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

The rest of the corps declined to respond to racial surveys.

“Our applicant pool goals are intentional, because our investments and outreach to top talent must be intentional,” said Air Force Undersecretary Gina Ortiz Jones in an Aug. 30 statement.

The Air Force, much like the other services, has been putting particular attention of diversity and inclusion since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.

The service announced the creation of the diversity and inclusion office in early 2021. The purpose of the office is to make the service more equitable, eliminate barriers and find policies and procedures that may be prohibitive.

The Air Force also released a racial disparity review in September 2021. It was an extension of an earlier review done by the service in 2020.

The review found a presence of disparity among races and gender in the ranks.

“Minorities and females are underrepresented in leadership positions, specifically at the senior leader level. Additionally, females and racial-ethnic minority groups were underrepresented in officer accessions, with the greatest disparity in operations career fields,” the Air Force review stated.

The service is making some headway in changing policies that are prohibitive to certain genders and races. The Air and Space Forces are floating the idea of allowing airmen and guardians to grow beards to avoid skin conditions like severe razor burn, which is more prevalent in Black males.

The Air Force recently announced that it is providing lactation areas for nursing airmen on three bases. One base even created a digital map that helps service members find lactation areas.

Copyright © 2024 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Related Stories

    U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan StefankoU.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Twila Stone readies her weapon during a Memorial Day ceremony May 28, 2012, at the Texas State Veteran Cemetery in Abilene, Texas. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Stone is assigned to the 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

    Air Force weeding out policies prohibitive to women

    Read more
    Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez

    Air Force eliminates ‘unnecessary’ performance evaluations for junior enlisted personnel

    Read more