No, Affirmative Action In The Military Doesn’t Boost National Security, It Erodes It

By Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman (AFA graduate, former Air Force Chief of Staff) and Claude M. (Scott) McQuarrie III (West Point graduate, former infantry officer, lawyer)

The Supreme Court will soon consider Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard/UNC. The court’s decision will determine whether our military’s future leadership will consist of the “best-qualified” individuals instead of simply those “qualified” as defined by an ever-moving standard meant to accommodate political and cultural goals.

Affirmative action, in the form of racial preferences, pervades today’s military despite federal law that, if enforced, would prevent it. Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits racial “discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Racial preferences in the military also violate our Constitution’s Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause.

Department of Defense (DOD) surrogates speciously have argued to the Supreme Court that the DOD’s use of racial preferences in service academy admissions is “mission critical” and “indispensable to” national security. That strategy was contrived only because of the legal framework courts must use when examining practices that violate the Constitution. Evidence must clearly prove a “compelling state interest” sufficiently strong to justify the drastic measure of suspending the constitutional provision that prohibits such practices.

DOD’s surrogates made their preferences-are-essential-to-national-security argument first in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger. Unrebutted, that far-fetched claim misled the Grutter majority into a falsely predicated, 5-4 decision authorizing the limited, narrowly tailored use of racial preferences in college admissions for the sole purpose of gaining the “educational benefits of diversity.” The DOD thereby gained some of the judicial cover it sought for its racial preferences practices in service academy admissions.

Veterans for Fairness and Merit (VFM), an organization that has 627 members, 21 Medal of Honor recipients, 45 POWs, 119 general officers (12 four-stars and 25 three-stars), with 934 combat tours, 476 combat leader positions held, and more than 900 combat valor awards to its name, filed an amicus brief in Harvard/UNC to correct the record based on their first-hand experiences.

Our military most assuredly can defend America without resorting to extra-constitutional practices that require suspension of the Equal Protection Clause and Section 601. To claim otherwise is disingenuous. Officer-enlisted racial demographic parity – if that’s what DOD surrogates’ term “critical officer diversity” means – is unnecessary for our military to be combat-effective. . . . . (read the rest)

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