Army Gen. Mark Milley said the U.S. military must improve opportunity and advancement for Black service members, who continue to be significantly underrepresented in certain fields, such as Air Force pilots and senior ranks, The Associated Press reported.
Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments during a Howard University ROTC commissioning ceremony.
When current Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1984, only 2% of Air Force pilots were Black. Today, the Air Force pilot population is still 2% Black.
The military is approximately 20% Black, Milley said, but only two of 41 four-star generals and admirals are Black.
“Opportunity in our military must be reflective of the diverse talent in order for us to remain strong,” Milley said. “Our nation is ready to fulfill the promise of our Constitution to build a more perfect union and to ensure equal justice for all people, and it is your generation that can and will bring the joint force to be truly inclusive of all people.”
According to 2018 Pentagon data, almost 24% of the Army’s enlisted force was Black and approximately 17% was Hispanic. But just 10% of the officer corps was Black and 8.6% was Hispanic.