Lying with Statistics
This story, which says the US military is "too white and too male at the top," is yet another example of using misleading statistics to advance the agenda of political correctness.
The report states that, as of 2008,
seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women
It then determines that there is problems with the military's recruiting, promotion, and ground combat exclusion policies. (Actually, the ground combat arms exclusion is a law, not DoD policy.)
The problem with this is, they're not comparing the percentages of senior officers to the appropriate populations. The appriate comparisons are not, as they seem to be doing, the percentages of women and minorities in today's general population. The story doesn't define 'senior officerm,' but I'll call them O-5s and above. So Commander for the squids, Leiutenant Colonel for everyone else. You can't just take someone off the street, send them to some training, and have a senior officer come out the other side. It takes at least 15 years of service, from time of commissioning, to make O-5. Second, all commissioned officers are required to hold a bachelor's degree. So, your relevant population would be college grads from at least 15-20 years ago.
The best stats I could find are in this report from the Dept. of Education, which breaks down college graduates from academic year 1997-98. For that year, 8.3% of college graduates were black, and 5.6% Hispanic. This correlates pretty well to the racial breakdown of senior officers quoted in the story, at 8% blacks and 5% Hispanics. Not exactly a reason for panic. If anything, the problem is not the military, but the civilian education system which turns out minority college graduates at rates below their representation in the general population.
Now, on to the women. What's relevant here is not the percentage of women in the overall population or the percentage of women college graduates. What's relevant is the percentage of women in the force. That's because the military - whose primary function is killing people and breaking things in furtherance of national security policy - has never been a popular career choice for women. Which is not necessarily a problem. There aren't a lot of women in construction, or the NFL, or working on offshore oil rigs, either. I didn't look up the other services, but in the Army, 17.2% of the overall force is female. And according to the story, 16% of the military's senior officers are female. A difference of just over 1% isn't exactly something to panic over.
The story does not contain a link to the actual report, so it's impossible to say if it examined attrition, but my personal experience has been that female officers tend to leave the services in higher percentages than their male counterparts, in large part due to children. Understanding that the plural of anecdote is not data, I've known 5 dual military officer couples in my career, 1 Navy, 4 Army. Of those, the Navy couple had no children. Of the four remaining, 3 of the wives left the Army, either when they got pregnant or within a year after giving birth.
Overall, the data cited in the article does not make any argument for any needed changes.