It’s no secret that the Navy, like the other military services, has paid attention to race and gender when it comes to promotions. This is captured through a variety of fields in an officer’s official record, as well as through an official photograph of the officer that is presented at any selection board. The picture requirement was originally removed in 2016 but reinstated in 2018 by NAVADMIN 265/18:
This NAVADMIN cancels reference (a) and reinstates the requirement
to display the Official Photograph for all Officer Selection Boards. This
policy change is the result of board feedback received since the removal of
the photograph requirement that the photographs aid the board’s ability to
assess the Title 10 requirements of an officer’s ability to perform the
duties of the next higher grade.
If you are skeptical how a photo helps a board member assess whether Naval Officers can execute Title 10 requirements, you’re not alone. Maybe Navy Officers need to double as Instagram models? Maybe Public Affairs got tired of submitting photos of ugly officers that couldn’t measure up to Taylor Kitsch and Rhianna? Or maybe it was a way of weeding out people that checked “Other” on the ethnicity list? I’ll let you decide.
At least the Navy did this in the background. Truth be told, evaluating your selection results to ensure nobody is discriminated against isn’t a bad thing. But its a slippery slope to quotas, and given the number of people lobbying for such a setup, its no surprise that it finally happened.
Courtesy of MyNavyHR, here are the statistics from the O-6 (Captain) promotion board conducted this year:
I’ve only copied the first page here, which covers 1110 (Surface Warfare), 1120 (Submarines), 1130 (SEAL), 1140 (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), and 13XX series (Aviation). Follow the link to get the rest of the 17 pages that cover other specialized communities.
I think the most frustrating part here is that this tells White Males that you have no background that the board cares about. Whether you came from difficult circumstances, are second-generation immigrants from Eastern Europe, or otherwise had some difficulty to overcome, none of that matters. You’re not the right color. Your background and story don’t matter.
I can’t recommend entering the Navy, especially the officer corps, while this nonsense continues. Between reducing the retirement and other benefits, non-stop wars designed to prop-up the military industrial complex paid on the backs of young men and women, or the increasing use of the military for dumb political stunts, its simply not worth it to join. This proves that even if you join with the intention of changing things, you won’t make it to the higher ranks to do so.
The only real chance for change is a change in President and an absolute evisceration of the membership at the top of the Pentagon. You can probably cut the Admiralty it in half without many problems, given the ratio of admirals to ships nowadays. You’ll need to deeply cut and remove a large chunk of the Pentagon and HR staff that pushes these sort of policies. Most importantly, and perhaps the hardest part, will be restoring our nation’s confidence that we select the best officers to place in harm’s way when the nation needs them the most.
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