Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Military Leadership: A Feasibility Analysis of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission's Service Academy Accession Recommendations




Williams, Michael

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC) was created for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive evaluation and assessment of policies and practices that shape diversity among military leaders. The commission concluded that the Armed Forces had not yet succeeded in developing a stream of leaders who are as demographically diverse as the nation they serve. It recommended twenty improvements to existing diversity-related policies and offered new initiatives to systematically develop more demographic diversity among military leadership. The recommendations included a proposal to increase minority representation in officer accession programs. To assess that recommendation this research sought to identify characteristics of demographically diverse individuals who participate in an officer accession program. The United States Naval Academy (USNA) was used as a case study and a comparison was made between the characteristics of a four-year cohort of USNA students and the characteristics of a similar cohort of students at comparably selective academic institutions. The resultant study provides a theoretical understanding of the characteristics of diverse students who entered the United States Naval Academy, discusses the feasibility of the MLDC recommendations, and contributes to the body of literature which seeks to understand who serves in the United States Military, and why.



Public policy, Military studies, Civil-Military Relations, Diversity, Military Leadership Diversity Commission, Officer Accessions, Propensity for Military Service, United States Naval Academy