Recent Report Describes Racial Disparities in Military Academy Nominations from Congress

Updated Apr 5, 2021

According to a recent report, fewer than 15% of students nominated by Congress members for national military academies since the mid-1990s have been Black and Hispanic, The Hartford Courant reported. The report – by the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) – is titled, “Gatekeepers to Opportunity: Racial Disparities in Congressional Nominations to the Military Service Academies.”

It analyzed almost 25 years of nominations, which are required for students to be considered for admission to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy, The Hartford Courant reported.

Asian students were proportionally represented in terms of service academy nominations – 7% of nominations for their 6% share of the young adult 18-24 population. However, Black students received 6% of nominations for their 15% share of the young adult 18-24 population and Hispanic students received 8% of nominations for their 22% share.

This disparity affects military leadership diversity, given that many officers graduate from service academies, said Liam Brennan, CVLC’s executive director.

“Inequities in nominations lead to inequities at the service academies themselves,” said Richard Brookshire, co-founder and chief strategist of the Black Veterans Project. “Beyond the academy walls, these disparities are compounded: Black soldiers and sailors are overrepresented in the enlisted ranks and underrepresented among general officers, and over one-half of service members of color have witnessed evidence of white supremacy or racist ideologies in the military.”