USAF Launches New Review of Racial, Gender, Ethnic Disparities

The Department of the Air Force Inspector General is launching an additional review looking at racial, gender, and ethnic disparities in the ranks as the military continues to reckon with issues of racism and equality.

The Air Force released the 2020 Racial Disparity Review in December, citing wide-spread issues across the department. That 150-page Inspector General report included feedback from 123,000 survey responses and 138 in-person sessions, with Black Airmen reporting distrust of their chain of command, military justice inequalities, and other administrative issues.

The Air Force announced Feb. 19 the next review will expand to additional racial categories: Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. It also will look at gender disparities, as well as disparities with Hispanic/Latino Airmen.

“The IG 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,” Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth said in a release. “Although the data is helpful, the most important information will come directly from our Airmen and Guardians.”

Roth, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond Jr. directed the review, saying further analysis is needed in the aftermath of the prior review.

“Ensuring fair and equitable discipline and development for all our Airmen and Guardians is critical,” the leaders said, according to the release. “We are committed to promoting an environment free from personal, social, and institutional barriers that might prevent our members from rising to their highest potential. Diversity makes us a stronger and more capable force.”

Airmen, Guardians, and civilians will receive an anonymous survey as part of the review.

“It is critical that we hear from you, because you are a central part of the solution,” Roth said in the release.

Findings from this effort will be released alongside a six-month assessment of what steps have been taken in response to the 2020 review.