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Military Affirming College Affirmative Action

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The Supreme Court is weighing just how much an applicant’s race can be taken into account when it comes to granting admission to the University of Texas. A recent friend-of-the-court filing by retired U.S. military generals and admirals — with more than 1,200 years’ combined service — makes clear they believe it’s fair to do so.

Oral arguments in the case are slated for October 10 – shortly before the presidential election – and there is concern in some quarters that an increasingly conservative high court could rule the vague affirmative-action guidelines it approved in 2003 are now unconstitutional.

That, the retired officers say, would make developing the diverse officer corps they say is needed to command the nation’s military much tougher.

The roster of those who signed the brief is impressive: three chairmen of the Joint Chiefs (Army General Colin Powell, Army General Henry Shelton, and Navy Admiral Mike Mullen), a vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs (Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr.) and a host of combatant commanders (including Army General John Abizaid, Admiral Dennis Blair, Army General Bryan Brown, Army General Wesley Clark, Admiral Joseph W. Prueher and Marine General Anthony Zinni).

Not to mention martial luminaries including former Air Force chief of staff General Ron Fogleman, former CIA deputy director (and current University of Texas professor, and alum) Admiral Bobby R. Inman, Army General Jack Keane, Marine commandant General Carl Mundy, and Medal of Honor winner and one-time senator Bob Kerrey, who is seeking re-election to a Nebraska Senate seat once again this fall. There’s also one lone woman, Vice Admiral Ann E. Rondeau. And one lone civilian, Joe Reeder, a former Army under-secretary.

“Hundreds of additional military leaders could have been added had there been sufficient time to process everyone, one-by-one, who wanted to formally support the University of Texas,” Reeder said Tuesday. “Our fighting force is as diverse as America itself. Ensuring an officer corps that also reflects the diversity of this fighting force remains essential to our national security.”

Reeder co-authored the filing, which says, in part:

Unlike many other institutions, the military operates on a closed personnel system with its top leaders chosen not from outside, but rather, promoted from the lower ranks. As a consequence, the demographic composition of initial officer accessions is critical to the achievement of a diverse military officer corps…there are at present no race-neutral means for the military to fulfill its critical need for a highly qualified and diverse officer corps.

…while this case focuses on university admissions, its impact dramatically transcends academia. In evaluating the constitutionality of respondents’ limited consideration of race in admissions decisions, amici respectfully submit the Court should consider the military’s interests. Fulfillment of the national security interest in officer corps diversity must not be imperiled by a sweeping ruling against race-conscious admissions.

Be interesting to see if the military weighing in like this makes the high court think twice before reversing its 2003 decision.

6 comments
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byronio
byronio

  Why exactly is a "diverse officer corps" needed to command the nation’s military? I thought the Army likes to say that everybody is green? When the institution defending our nation isn't allowed to be a true meritocracy, we are in for troubled times.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

Military needs to rid itself of racists in its ranks

Kasbohmc2
Kasbohmc2

To be blunt, Affirmative Action policies of all kinds are outdated and obsolete.

Affirmative Action legislation was signed into law in 1973, during a VERY different time in American history.  At that time, minorities - both women and racial minorities - suffered from long-standing discriminatory policies.  The real positions of power were overwhelming held by White males in virtually every walk-of-life.  Minorities very rarely ascended to those positions.

Enter Affirmative Action (AA).  With AA, companies and organizations were FORCED to implement diversity quotas (i.e. hiring this many Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc.) for both hiring and promoting (i.e. this many managers had to be of minority A, B, C, etc.). 

In many cases, training those minorities was very difficult.  According to stories from family, friends, and colleagues, minorities (Blacks in particular) did not know how to read, write, conduct analysis, dress, interact, and accomplish a number of other managerial tasks.  Soon enough (by 1975), AA became labeled as Reverse Discrimination.

It was (and still is) known as Reverse Discrimination (RD), because AA essentially reserves those positions for minorities, and says that Whites cannot compete for those positions.  It makes that judgment by either color of skin or ethnic background.....methods which Whites were called 'racist' for in the time leading up to AA!! 

However, criticisms of RD aside, AA was initially necessary, as it allowed for minorities to assume positions of power.  As politically correct thinkers like to say, AA, "resulted in a more diverse representation of America at the higher levels of power."

Yet, that was then, this is now.  In the year 2012, a large majority of younger Americans view AA as unfair.  They were born in the later 1980s (myself included) and the 1990s, and were not around for the earlier periods of racism in this country.  This generation had no impact or say in those policies or beliefs, and therefore feels punished by outdated AA regulations.

We believe that ALL races and ethnicities should earn their place in academic institutions and the professional world.  Those positions should NOT be rewarded based on skin color or ethnicity alone.  That's wrong and unfair! 

I can guarantee that in 20-30 years, when our generation assumes the positions of political power, WE WILL ELIMINATE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION in favor of merit-based policies.  EARN YOUR POSITION, and get ready for our changes!!

Samian
Samian

So how many Arab-Americans and Afghan-Americans were slated for automatic officer candidate school positions (in the name of "diversity") post-9/11?

Asian-Americans are grossly under-represented in the US military. How many diversity programs does the DoD prescribe for recruitment of Asian-American soldiers and officers?

The bottom line is that the military only wants to use Affirmative Action for blacks and Hispanics.  The only reason why the military filed this amicus curae brief is because the military is paranoid America's going to go back to a pre-Truman age of de facto military segregation.

If the US Supreme Court does strike down affirmative action, though, I think it'll only be in university admissions. The SCOTUS decision won't affect military recruitment, police force diversity programs, etc.


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