US Air Force

Air Force IG Report Finds Disparities in Treatment of Black and White Members

By Rohini Kurup
Wednesday, December 23, 2020, 12:01 PM

The U.S. Air Force inspector general released a report on Dec. 21 that details disparities in the treatment of Black and white service members in a range of areas, including military justice, leadership opportunities and promotions.

The 150-page report, based on a months-long investigation, finds that Black service members are arrested, investigated and face disciplinary actions at a higher rate than white service members. The report says, for example, that Black members were 72 percent more likely than their white counterparts to receive non-judicial punishment from their commanding officers and 57 percent more likely to face courts-martial. The investigation also found that Black service members receive fewer opportunities for career advancement.

According to a survey with more than 123,000 responses conducted as part of the investigation, two out of every five Black Air Force members don’t trust the chain of command to address racism, bias and unequal opportunities. And three out of every five believe they will not receive the same benefit of the doubt as their white peers if they get in trouble.

The report stops short of describing the cause of the racial disparities, saying that the findings are not necessarily evidence of racism or discrimination. "We're analyzing root causes and taking appropriate actions to address these challenges," Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the Air Force chief of staff, said in a statement accompanying the report. "Now we must all move forward with meaningful, lasting, and sustainable change."

The report can be found here and below:

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