Changes in policy by the United States Air Force inspired by diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) standards resulted in discrimination, according to some of the branch’s officers.
Air Force shifted its policy to prioritize non-White and female pilot candidates in a pilot training program. The policy resulted in the 19th Air Force Command shifting its priorities to meet demographic factors.
The DEI-inspired pilot training class received the motto “hand-picked for excellence.”
Officers involved in the program received an Air Force memo, which stated that they had been “verbally ordered through the chain of command” to “purposefully restructure” the class “to meet specific racial and gender demographics.”
A change to the memo was more explicit, stating that the order was done to include “anybody non-white.”
The Air Force said at the time that ordering such a class makeup was not illegal.
Young Americans join the military to become warriors, not social justice warriors. Radical policies like “drag queen story time” make the military’s recruiting crisis worse and waste taxpayer money. https://t.co/mEOmwKLJw0
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) May 10, 2023
Some officers disagreed, stating that the military branch had ignored its own non-discrimination policy. The disagreeing officers wrote that the “structures have never been based on a minimum quota for a student’s race or gender, and the message this sends to students and future students is harmful.”
The alleged discrimination comes after recent military recruitment figures have reached recent lows.
The Department of Defense announced that current recruitment efforts yielded just over two-thirds of the Army recruits needed. The Navy suffered worse, with just 60% of those needed for the Pentagon’s future missions.
The Air Force missed the mark by over 10%. It expects to be about a tenth short by the end of the year.
Last year, the military published a study that found that more than three-quarters of young people would not be eligible for military service. This was 6% higher than a 2017 and includes factors such as weight and other health issues.
Other factors included in potential disqualifications are due to drug and alcohol use.
The military’s recruitment issues also come as the Navy recently announced that it would partner with a drag queen to bring in new prospective sailors.