Diversity is essential to our armed forces. Yet an overemphasis on statistics has taken us into dangerous waters in terms of management. The issue is much larger than numbers, but we have embraced a system in which percentages trump more meaningful and lasting considerations. Our present focus misses the forest for the trees.
Fortunately, there is good news. Our enlisted leaders have seamlessly fused operational realities with a diversity-friendly mentality, providing us an ideal model from which we have much to learn.
To keep my unit running, chiefs and petty officers judge their workforce and designate leaders based entirely on capability and contribution. Those who prove themselves experts in their respective shops become leaders. Those who fall behind are placed elsewhere. It is a meritocracy born of the needs of an operational unit. More important, the process is embraced and respected.