Air Force Leadership Lacks Diversity

Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today, May 3, 2015

The senior leadership of the Air Force remains largely white and male despite an emphasis on diversity in the service and throughout the military, according to data and interviews with service leaders.

The Air Force has 280 generals, but just 18 of them belong to minority groups. That includes two Hispanic officers, or less than 1% of the total. The 13 African-American generals make up 4% of the Air Force’s general officer corps.

The Pentagon’s other branches, including the Army, share the same struggle to diversify their forces, a priority of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. A key concern for the Army resides in the lack of minority officers leading its combat battalions and brigades. That’s where lieutenant colonels and colonels are groomed for top leadership jobs, indicating the lack of diversity among combat leaders could persist for years.

The Air Force has a similar problem among its wing commanders. Commanding a wing is considered by the Air Force to being a near-prerequisite to becoming a general. Of the 135 wings, there are four black officers in charge, according to Air Force data, or less than 3%. In all, the current class of wing commanders is 93% white and 91% male.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James, in a statement to USA TODAY, acknowledged the problem.

“We value diversity,” James said. “However, the statistics tell a different story. As a service we need to do better at achieving greater diversity of thought and experiences in leadership positions.”

The Air Force, with few exceptions, traditionally has drawn its top leaders from combat pilots, especially those who fly fighter jets. Its chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, is an F-16 and A-10 pilot. Gen. Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied commander in Europe and leader of European Command, is also an F-16 pilot.


The Air Force’s 9,000 combat pilots are at least 87% white. More officers declined to identify their race, 5%, than the next highest minority group, African Americans, at 3%. Nearly 94% are men. The military, as a whole, is dominated by men at 85% of its personnel.


“Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives,” Cleaves [Chevalier Cleaves, the Air Force director of diversity and inclusion] said. “So we must succeed. There is no second place for us. In order to do that, we need to make sure that we leverage the talent of all Americans, not just some.”



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  • John Smith

    I guess they’re getting there with starting to force white officers like the General who was just forced to resign. They have appointed a female non-pilot to command forces in the Pacific because women know best, even if the only thing they ride is a desk.

    • APaige

      They ‘ride’ more than a desk to get a promotion.

    • No_NFL_Diversity

      In the recent NFL draft, 30 of the 32 teams selected a Black player in the first round, while 1 team selected a mixed-race Somoan, and 1 team selected a White player. Where is the article with the title, “NFL teams lack diversity among players”?

      • LHathaway

        There will be an article about diversity. It will be on page two . . . but the article will be about how the NFL lacks an appreciation for Blacks and other non-whites and must do more.

      • LS Wight

        Full diversity is achieved when there are no white people. Where have you been while this was going on in Europe? This crap is only in white countries, but not unique to the USA.

        • Wing-nut.

          Diversity=White genocide

    • LS Wight

      That didn’t work out too well in South Africa. It left them in the dark. ..literally!

  • Off we go, into the wild black yonder…

    • Oil Can Harry

      The Air Force wants blacks who can “command a wing” even though the only time they ever take charge of a wing is when they yank one out of a KFC bucket.

      • LS Wight

        The air force will have to change their rules because 47% of black males are convicted felons by age 24.

    • LS Wight

      Planet of the apes!

  • Rhialto

    I assume that all air combat missions will be robotized within the next 20 years. This will allow the air force to concentrate on social progress, like NASA has i.e. leveraging all that female and minority talent that’s just laying around.

  • Hilis Hatki

    Our military, like our government bureaucracy , is a jobs program for “minorities”.

    • Groovy

      And immigrants.

    • Speedy Steve

      When the elites send all those brave lesbians and Africans to attack old White men like me, they might not win.

  • D.B. Cooper

    Here’s your yes man, right here. Why not strike while the iron is hot? I’d don’t see a whole lot of white boys defending their racial interests, but are quick to fight to the death defending diversity, while blaming themselves for its failure.

  • Evette Coutier

    There’s a formula for disaster. Low intelligence blacks flying the world’s most advanced aircraft carrying the most dangerous weapons in history with incompetent liberal leadership placed there by a bozo president. No white kid in their right mind should join our armed services under Obama.

    • Yancy Derringer

      It should be noted that Obama expects the defense secretary he selects to champion and even mandate racial discrimination — to prioritize ethnicity and/or gender over qualifications. While it may be “the Air Force’s goal” to diversify its leadership in this way, that goal may have an expiration date of January 2017. Perhaps then all of our armed forces will be required to be equal opportunity employers.

    • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

      No white kid should join our armed services, EVER. Why fight for a government that hates you? Why be maimed, or killed, for the people who have hijacked our government and turned it against us?

  • JohnEngelman

    When elite cadres are questioned about their lack of diversity they should have the courage to explain why the lack exists. They should have the courage to explain how various demographics differ in innate aptitude for elite positions.

    Bill Gates had the courage to say, ““Software, is an IQ business. Microsoft must win the IQ war, or we won’t have a future.”

    We need more of that candor. An organization that does not advance the most capable people to leadership positions, regardless of race, will lose out to organizations that do. This is particularly true for the U.S. military.

    • Microsoft, Google, Apple all now scramble to increase diversity. Imagine how much more successful these companies would have been had they been led by Black females. /sarcasm

    • LS Wight

      99% of the 1 % are Jewish

  • TruthBeTold

    Flying and maintaining high tech planes requires a high IQ.

    It’s no surprise that few minorities every make it to a leadership position.

    Promoting unqualified low IQ minorities would be dangerous and deadly.

    • Whitetrashgang

      But funny at the same time.

    • Speedy Steve

      There’s no ‘would’ about it. You only need to look at Washington’s Metro with all its busted escalators. There are employees on the payroll assigned to fix them, but they just sit and watch TV until quitting time.

    • Blackfish

      It’s hard to promote someone who is a smoking hole in the ground.

  • Fed Up

    Guess it can be taken to mean only White officers are really smart enough to lead the Air Force! It figures!

    • Speedy Steve

      How racist of you to notice!

  • Chip Carver

    The numbers of minawty officers would be even less without AA, truth be told. There shouldn’t be any. And there wouldn’t be any if not for the bolshevik takeover of the US in the 60’s.

    • Max

      -following on the heels of the takeover of the universities in the 40’s

  • dd121

    This is proof that the system of merit in the military (or business) brings whites to the top unless there is a conscious effort to short circuit meritocracy.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Affirmative action is a failure by any measure; it will fail the military and guarantee our security will be greatly diminished.

    Obama, libs and the media just don’t care.

  • Hammerheart

    When dealing with air planes, their maintainence, and communications relating to the air, it’s pretty hard to fake competence, hence the lack of tokens in the upper echelons of command. I wonder how diverse AFSOC is? Those water survival requirements look pretty brutal.

  • Petronius

    Relatively few blacks are interested in military service. Those who do enlist are underrepresented in combat units.

    Nevertheless, they are fast-tracked for promotion. This is partly because advancement of nonwhite subordinates is part of every Officer Evaluation Report (OER). See, e.g., DA Form 67-9, Army Values no. 5, “promotes dignity, consideration, fairness & EO.”

    • Jason Lewis

      They all take jobs in the rear with the gear.

      • Spikeygrrl

        …drinkin’ a beer.

  • MekongDelta69

    We used to call them the ‘Chair Force’!

    They were first on the PC bandwagon decades ago, and they’ve always lead the pack.

    • Strider73

      If by “decades” you mean the Clinton regime, you could be right. OTOH, when I was in the USAF in the 1980s “equal opportunity and treatment’ meant just that, and it started in basic training. Blacks did not get demerit forgiveness on dorm inspections, extra points on promotion tests, or any other kind of preference. In fact, any mention of race on a person’s job performance review form was strictly prohibited. As a result, race did not matter, because there was no reason why it should. As another result, my racial awareness had to wait until I left the service.

  • Jason Lewis

    How many more qualified men will now be passed up in the Air Force for this great social experiment?

  • Basketeddie

    I am shocked. The military is dominated by men and blacks only account for about 3% of highly skilled and technical positions. I’m sure our founding fathers are turning over in their graves.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    Don’t. Even. Read. This. Crap.

    Really, both the world and your blood pressure will thank me.

  • jim

    “Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives”

    Really? How did we make it this far without it?

  • Basketeddie

    “Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives”, says Chevalier Cleaves, Air Force Director of Diversity and Inclusion. I could have sworn I heard that statement before and it was attributed to either George Patton or Douglas Macarthur.

    • Dr. X

      “Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives.” The sheer Orwellian falsity of that statement is stunning… especially when you consider that the U.S. won the biggest war in human history a mere 70 years ago with a racially segregated military — and hasn’t won a single war (aside from the 1991 Gulf War, I guess) since the military was desegregated in 1948…

  • AmericanRemnant

    That’s probably why it still functions.

  • mikes2653

    Competence is the crucial “national security imperative,” and any nation that makes it take third place behind “diversity and inclusion” will not have much hope of controlling its own destiny in the future.

  • Brakedust

    How long has there been a Director of Diversity and Inclusion? The Left has infiltrated all branches of government and military, it seems.

    • Dr. X

      In the Age of Obama, yes they have. The military was the last cultural institution dominated by white, Christian, heterosexual conservatives, and unfortunately Obama has successfully broken it to the saddle of PC… expect that some day in the future, they’ll be deployed against whites trying to defend themselves during race riots…

      • Neuday

        Or trying to create our own nation. Perhaps with the support of another nation, say, Russia, we will have some military hardware to combat this new Anti-American Air Force.

  • IstvanIN
  • Deacon Blue

    How many of you have ever see a Black pilot – military or civilian? I suppose unicorns,
    big foot and chupacabras exist too although I have never see any of them either.

    • InAFreeCountry

      I saw an ad for the movie “Red Tails” that had the negro pilots. I didn’t see it, neither did anyone else.

    • Cuddles

      Soul plane

    • Lexonaut

      “How many of you have ever see a Black pilot – military or civilian?”

      Read up on Chappie James. His career may surprise you.

  • WR_the_realist

    Explain this to me real carefully, Chevalier Cleaves — just how and why are diversity and inclusion national security imperatives?

    • Speedy Steve

      Because the Tuskegee Airmen (with the assistance of Navajo Code Talkers) won WWII shooting down 0.67 Germans per pilot while YT was sitting with his thumb up his bum and his mind in neutral.

      • Cuddles

        Blacks and Indians saved the day said no military strategist ever.

  • LeonNJ

    If I want my Air Force to look like the inside of a burger joint, then I’ll go inside a burger joint. Clinton or Bernard Sanders won’t be any better.

  • superlloyd

    ”’We need to make sure that we leverage the talent of all Americans, not just some.” That’s what has been done historically until recently ergo a White dominated airforce; Blacks and mestizos simply don’t have the talent read IQ to succeed at the highest levels. Promotion should be on merit not race but of course to be talented is white privilege. Yawn.

  • Speedy Steve

    I’d heard the new boss in charge of the USAF is a woman who can’t even fly a Piper Cub.

    • Cuddles


  • LHathaway

    The Air Force has 280 generals? Isn’t that what the issue should be here as the government is unable to pay it’s bills?

    • InAFreeCountry

      279 as of last week, but yes.

  • InAFreeCountry

    “Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives,” Cleaves
    [Chevalier Cleaves, the Air Force director of diversity and inclusion]
    said. “So we must succeed. There is no second place for us. In order to
    do that, we need to make sure that we leverage the talent of all
    Americans, not just some.”

  • Light from the East

    When did “director of diversity and inclusion” become a job in military? That shows military has no other things to do than just pandering the liberal political atmosphere.

  • RaySist27

    We live in sad times. Our government thinks that the military is too White and considers that a ‘problem’. I think they got it backwards. There’s too many blacks in the military. One is too many.

  • LS Wight

    Diversity means chasing down the last white person! Deny Cultural Marxism!

  • LS Wight


  • Ed

    Being a military officer is something that smart, competitive and honorable men still want. Of course there would be few Blacks & Hispanics.

  • Max

    “Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives,” Cleaves [Chevalier Cleaves, the Air Force director of diversity and inclusion] said.

    “More foxes are the key to a secure poultry operation” said the fox in a recent interview.
    WHY!? can the left just make up these “truisms” which become permanently imbedded as facts in western countries.

    I can’t take it any more.

  • Max

    “War is a Racket” Gen. Smedley Butler.


    “Diversity and inclusion are national security imperatives,” Cleaves
    [Chevalier Cleaves, the Air Force director of diversity and inclusion]
    said. … “So I can justify my position. We also need it to prevent global warming.”

  • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

    I don’t even go on base any more because I am so sick of seeing white men with Asian women and white women with black/brown men. Go into any building and it’s all “sexual assault/harassment” and “diversity!” propaganda plastered all over every available space. The blacks get to do everything they want, the whites do all the work and get treated like crap. The military is an embarrassment and has fallen so far it’s not even funny.

  • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

    Since “our” enemies appear to be whites (Russia), it’s probably for the best that we can’t kill them.

  • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

    The wrong side definitely won that war.

  • scutum

    As a veteran of Vietnam I have watched the armed forces self destruct over the last few years. I hope we never get into a shooting war with the Russians, their soldiers are fit and well trained, which is just the opposite of what we increasingly have in our armed forces. I recently read an article stating that approximately 70% of today’s youth are not physically fit enough to qualify for military service. This is very sad, I am 71 year old and I can still do 60 pushups. I am appalled at some of the articles I have read on the general fitness of military recruits and the armed forces drive to recruit women into the combat arms. My daughter was a gymnast and she was never able to do 60 pushups in a row.

    • AmericanRemnant

      It’s been deliberately hollowed out like so many other things that made this Country once great. Marxism and it’s diversity tactics is a cancer.

    • Hammerheart

      Don’t worry old timer, while that is true for many of the people in the support units of the US mil, I can give assure you due to first hand experience that our door kickers are still the people our enemies fear. I did five years in the USMC on a FAST team and later a grunt battalion and we fought hard and trained harder.

    • I’m going to tread lightly with my response.

      But I think all these articles about the lack of physical fitness among young people vis-a-vis their potential military service are disingenuous, in a way.

      First off, if 70% aren’t fit, it means that 30% are. And not even during WWII were as many as 30% of young men in the whole country in active combat. Just because you’re not fit enough for active combat doesn’t mean you can’t be in a support role.

      Second, some of the same people who claim to be worried about this are telling us that traditional warfare is obsolete, if they don’t out and outright hate the concept of an armed forces.

      So what’s the answer to the riddle? Michelle Obama. She’s on this physical fitness kick (IMHO, mainly because so many black girls and black women are obese), and whenever we get on a cause or a kick or want something, we start yapping to each other about national defense as a feel good bromide. That was the pseudo-rationalization for the interstate highway act, officially the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. The American policy makers and associated journalists of almost sixty years ago worked each other and the general public into a frenzied fit believing that were were going to build all these new freeways because they would help the Pentagon defend Topeka and Boise and Asheville and Nashua and Sioux Falls and Shreveport and Palm Springs from a Soviet nuclear missile barrage. When all we wanted to do was build a bunch of new “modern” (at the time) highways, but what fun is there in admitting only that when you can dress it up in fantastic notions about winning a war and beating back an all powerful invasion, eleven short years after V-J Day?

      Likewise, I guess we’re to think that all these obese black girls need to slim down because they’re going to have to strap on M-16s and save us all from the invading Iranians.

  • slobotnavich

    Amazing how the entire human race, since the beginning of recorded history (and likely long before that) looked to the male of the species for its warriors. How could so many have been so stupid for so long?

  • InAFreeCountry

    Wait…you mean they didn’t?!?