Congressional Black Leaders Blast Military Discrimination

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed their growing anger at failures of the military to implement affirmative action programs. According to Rep. Robert Scott, “there has been a disturbing levelling off among the upper ranks in the last few years” so that today there is only one four star African American general, General William Ward, who was recently named head of the African command. At present, African Americans constitute about 17% of the United States army, but only 5.8% of them are found in top level officers. Of the 929 flag officers in the U.S. military, 818 are white males which means only 12% are African American, female or from other ethnic groups. Rep. Sheila Jackson said: “There is a sense of outrage at the lack of opportunity in the military today” among African Americans.

The integration plans of the US military have been widely praised as among the most successful affirmative action efforts in American society. Colin Powell rose to the position of leading the entire American armed forces, but there apparently has been a notable drop in the desire for integration within the past few years. As of now, no one knows the reason for the failure to ensure African Americans or females or other ethnic groups are represented in the ranks of top level officers. Is there a connection between the lack of affirmative action progress and a Bush administration which opposes the very concept of affirmative action?