Independent Christian Voice

Wednesday

African-American 'overrepresentation' in the Army declining

From Knight-Ridder Newspapers:
Fewer African-Americans are joining the Army, a trend likely to make it harder to keep the all-volunteer military at full strength.

The percentage of African-Americans among all those who signed up for active-duty Army service fell from 24 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2005, according to Army statistics. That's the lowest percentage since 1973, when the draft ended and the all-volunteer military began, say David R. Segal and Mady Wechsler Segal, sociologists with the University of Maryland's Center for Research on Military Organization.

In the past, African-Americans have enlisted at higher rates than their overall percentage of the U.S. population, which was 12.9 percent in the 2000 census.

"These trends may spell trouble for the Army, which has depended on blacks to meet its recruiting goals and re-enlistment targets," the Segals wrote in a November study. [...]

"Basically, what has happened over time with the all-volunteer force is that the Army has become sort of dependent on the overrepresentation of African-American recruits, who have been more inclined to stay," David Segal said in an interview.

The problem with an all-"volunteer" army is that there is a gross underrepresentation by the privileged classes. The security of our nation is shouldered disproportionately by the underprivileged, which includes the economically disadvantaged. Unfortunately, African-Americans make up a disproportionate share of that group and many are faced with little alternative but to join the military for gainful employment. Now, many are paying a much higher price than they bargained for in Afghanistan and Iraq.