Minority officers in the Navy receive slower promotions and lower performance evaluations than their white peers, recently released service data show. But the key reason appears to be pre-service education that is less competitive, rather than institutional racism, according to an officer "pipeline" study prepared for the Department of Defense.
"Many minority members and, to a lesser extent, women may start their careers at a disadvantage because of pre-entry differences in academic achievement and lower representation in fields of study of most interest to the military," concludes the study, entitled Career Progression of Minority and Women Officers. It was prepared by the Defense think tank RAND and the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California,
Academic background puts minority officers behind from the start in competing for career-enhancing assignments, particularly in tactical operational fields where promotions come faster and from which most future flag officers are drawn. Minority and women officers remain concentrated in non-combat fields such as engineering/maintenance, administration, medical, and supply.