On Friday (February 19), the Air Force inspector general announced the launch of a second investigation into the racial disparities service members face. The new investigation, according to the Huffington Post, will expand its reach to collect survey data across gender, and include Native American and Asian American racial categories.
Air Force officials were prompted to conduct a second review after a report released in December found that Black Air Force service members were more likely to be investigated, arrested, and charged with misconduct than other service members, confirming that “racial disparity exists” within the military branch, but the numbers doesn’t point to a specific cause.
Newly-appointed Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin ordered more reviews across all military branches to address extremism within its ranks and increase diversity, especially following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Dozens of active and retired military personnel were arrested for their participation in the riot.
President Joe Biden co-signed these efforts, declaring domestic terrorism a national emergency to be addressed across the Defense Department and other national security agencies.
The report from December also found that Black service members received promotions less than other groups and that one-third of them believe they don’t get the same opportunities for advancement as their white service members.
Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth ordered this latest review and said a survey will go out directly to service members of the Air Force and Space Force to get their input.
“The [inspector general] team has already begun to gather information contained in a wide array of previous reports, studies and various databases across the Department of the Air Force,” Roth said. “Although the data is helpful, the most important information will come directly from our Airmen and Guardians,” he added. Guardians refer to members of the Space Force.
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