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Affirmative Action Meets National Security_ An Unlikely Bond.pdf (61.07 kB)

Affirmative Action Meets National Security: An Unlikely Bond

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posted on 2023-07-28, 19:05 authored by Robert Cadenasso

As the Supreme Court weighs the future of affirmative action in its hands, there is one key institution that is watching with a keen eye: The armed forces. The US military has long relied on affirmative action as an important source of diversity within their officer ranks, which is less diverse than the enlisted ranks 1. Ending affirmative action, which is also practiced at colleges with ROTC programs, could widen that gap 2. Diversity is a source of ingenuity for the military and has been for decades. Affirmative action is just as much a matter of national security and military integrity as it is about regular college admissions. That is why no matter the decision by the Supreme Court, one fact remains: They must allow the Service Academies and institutions with ROTC programs to continue the practice of affirmative action.

The magnitude of this decision was not lost on the Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, who referenced the military repeatedly while defending the practice as a whole. During oral arguments, she told the justices that “Our armed forces know from hard experience that when we do not have a diverse officer corps that is broadly reflective of the diverse fighting force, our strength and cohesion and military readiness suffer” 3. In addition, multiple former Joint Chiefs of Staff have also agreed, arguing that affirmative action was vital to national security 4. The fact that the former leaders of the nation’s military and its current Solicitor General all feel so strongly about affirmative action represents how it is a significant and credible tool for the military, one that is vital for national security efforts. The Supreme Court would be remiss to completely disregard affirmative action without any acknowledgment of its importance to the armed forces. To deprive the military of such a tool deprives the country of future leaders and capable soldiers on the battlefield, which weakens its versatility and adaptability. Diversity is the military’s greatest strength and measures taken to ensure greater diversity should be expanded, not expunged, because the military, in fighting for American values internationally, must reflect America internally too.

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This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Juris Mentem Law Review. This article has been accepted for inclusion in the Juris Mentem Digital Collection. The Digital Collection is edited by Juris Mentem Staff but is not peer-reviewed by university faculty. For more information, visit: https://www.american.edu/spa/jlc/juris-mentem.cfm Questions can be directed to jurismentem@american.edu

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