The "Air Force's Black Ceiling" is a view of diversity in the Air Force from one man's over 28 years in the Air Force. This view begins with his perspectives and insights as an Air Force Academy cadet and continues with his progression through company and field grade ranks. It also includes special insights gained while serving on the Secretary of Defense's Diversity Task Force as the Deputy Director of the Defense Business Practice Implementation Board. The author's view of diversity has been bolstered by face to face interviews with five former African American Air Force four-star generals and numerous current and former African American generals in the Air Force and the Army. The author's views are also influenced by numerous discussions with former graduates of the US Air Force Academy, his work with the Tuskegee Airmen chapters and his own detailed research into the biographies of former Air Force Chiefs of Staff and former Strategic, Tactical and Air Combat Command Commanders. The title might imply that the "Black Ceiling" has been put in place on purpose by senior Air Force leaders... the reader will find out that isn't the case. The reader however will find out that there are very distinct remnants of an intricate system of exclusionary development practices, cultural practices, stereotypes and biases that have served to keep the ceiling in place for African American men throughout the Air Force's existence.
Ivan Thompson is the CEO of Launch Productions. He is a singer/songwriter, actor, author, business consultant, and inventor. Ivan’s books have garnered rave reviews and are available on Amazon as well as all major retailer websites. Ivan has published multiple Christian titles, an exceptional book about diversity in the Air Force, a fitness book and a book to help new writers become published authors. Ivan’s audiobooks are also available on Audible.
Ivan has over 25 years consulting senior military and civilian leaders. He has conducted senior leadership off-sites, strategic planning sessions and served as the Deputy Director of the Defense Business Practice Implementation Board. As the Deputy, he helped facilitate and lead Task Groups for the Secretary of Defense comprised of senior DoD civilians and retired and active Fortune 500 CEOs. As a singer/songwriter, he has performed the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Lakers, Dodgers, LA Kings, St. Louis Rams, LA Sparks, NASCAR, NCAA and was a guest soloist on the Bobby Jones Gospel show and Tom Joyner show. He has performed across the US and Europe as Tour Director of the Air Force’s Tops in Blue traveling entertainment team.
I’m so excited! “The Air Force’s Black Ceiling” is now available as an audiobook! I’ve been waiting on this for two years, thanks Eric Kirkless for all your hard voice over work! This is a great gift for: students of military or Air Force history, students of military aviation, students of African American history, military members that you may be mentoring and career-minded military members. Preview it for free on Audible today!
The Air Force’s Black Ceiling
The Air Force’s Black Ceiling
THE AIR FORCE’S BLACK CEILING
In the summer of 2015 the Air Force had the most diverse senior leadership team it has ever had. The Secretary of the Air Force was female, the Air Force had a black non-rated (non-pilot), four-star, Vice Chief of Staff, a black four-star, Commander of Air Mobility Command (AMC), female four-star Commander of Materiel Command (AFMC), and a female non-pilot Commander of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). Of its eleven four stars only five were fighter pilots, four were non-rated. This was unprecedented in Air Force history in terms of diversity of gender, ethnicity, and certainly in terms of the number of non-rated four-stars. If the current diversity trend is a lasting one, most of the remainder of this book will be a reminder of how the Air Force has picked the leadership of it uppermost levels since the 1970s, how black officers have fared in those selections and a will serve as a primer containing the most fundamental principles of how general officers are groomed and developed. However, it is too early to tell whether this is a blip on the Air Force’s diversity path, merely a reflection of the current administration. The current roster of Air Force four-stars contains two females commanding both AFMC and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), one African American US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and 9 of the 12 four-stars are pilots, six of which are fighter pilots. (US Air Force, 2016)
A glass ceiling is a term used to describe “the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.” (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995) When I chose the title of this book I chose “black ceiling” because it’s as if the Air Force in its near 70 years of existence has had an unseen, unbreakable barrier that has kept blacks out of its most powerful leadership positions.
The Air Force’s most highly coveted positions, four-star command of its fighter and bomber forces, have been virtually closed to African Americans since the Air Force’s establishment as a separate service in 1947. As pilots they have risen to four-star command of air defense, flying training and air mobility commands. Black general officers have also prospered in acquisition commands. The Air Force’s former motto, “Fly, Fight and Win,” paints a picture of combat aircraft taking it to our nation’s foes. This motto embodies so much of what the Air Force has stood for throughout its proud heritage, yet the Air Force has historically and categorically excluded black officers from leading the fight at the highest levels in the combat theater.
Make no mistake. The Air Force is about the business of flying and the Air Force’s key leaders are leaders that at the highest level direct the business of flying. These leaders, especially in the realm of fighter aircraft are the least diverse segment in the Air Force.
Most any casual student of Air Force history might challenge what I have stated so far by saying that the Air Force has had a number of black four-star and three-star generals.
Specifically, there have been eight black officers to attain four-star rank in the Air Force. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis was given his fourth star in retirement just before his 86th birthday. Three of the generals, Gen. Bernard P. Randolph, Gen. Lester L. Lyles and Gen. Larry O. Spencer, were non-pilots and reached four-star rank as AFMC Commanders and as Air Force Vice Chief of Staff respectively. The remaining four—Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James, Gen. Lloyd W. Newton, Gen. Edward Rice and Gen. McDew—were pilots. General James was a fighter pilot and the only black four-star to command fighter aircraft (as a four-star); commanding fighter aircraft with bomber intercept responsibilities as Commander, North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). Gen. Newton was a fighter pilot and became Commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC); Gen. Rice was a bomber pilot and became Commander of AETC. Gen. McDew flew cargo and refueling aircraft as well as helicopters and became Commander of AMC and later USTRANSCOM.
A closer look will show that none of these generals served as a two or three-star in Tactical, Strategic or Air Combat Command or United States Air Forces Europe. Gen. Rice was the first black officer to command fighter aircraft in a Numbered Air Force (NAF). He commanded two NAFs in PACAF: the 13th Air Force as a two-star and the 5th Air Force as a three-star. Gen. Rice also served as the Vice Commander for PACAF. Gen. Rice’s service in PACAF is critical to note because the past five (soon to be six) Air Force Chiefs of Staff (CSAF) have come from commanding flying forces in Europe or in support of the war in Iraq. Only two prior CSAFs have been PACAF Commanders: Gen. Merrill A. McPeak (before the Gulf War) and Gen. John “Jack” Ryan. Gen. Ryan commanded PACAF during a time when the Pacific was an active combat theater (US Air Force Biographies, n.d.).
To put the eight black four-stars in perspective, there have been 208 four-star generals in the history of the Air Force, 200 of them have been white. ( Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2015), ( Secretary of the Air Force, 2012), ( Air Force Historical Studies Office, 2013).
In this book, I have defined diversity success as changing the fighter pilot diversity landscape from the sheer numbers and production of minority fighter pilots to minority fighter pilot representation at its highest levels, wing, Numbered Air Force (NAF), Major Air Command and CSAF. I have chosen fighter pilot diversity as the measuring stick because roughly 40 years ago (as I will show later in this book) the Department of Defense, Congressional leaders, and the Air Force began deliberately setting the stage for the Air Force to be run by fighter pilots. From 1982 until the present time fighter pilots have overwhelmingly dominated the Air Force’s senior leadership. Ten of 11 previous CSAFs (soon to be 12, with Gen. David L. Goldfein) have been fighter pilots. ( Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2015) (HQ USAF, 2015) Lack of diversity in this arena is akin to a decision to have diversity only in areas outside the realm targeted to hold the Air Force’s highest leadership positions since the late 1970s. (History.defense.gov, 2015)
The Air Force has a disappointing record of producing minority fighter pilots and an equally disappointing diversity record in terms of putting senior minorities in charge of flying combat operations. Unfortunately, the Air Force has no profit or other motive to change and without one likely will not.
Until the appointment Maj. Gen. Richard M. Clark in April of 2015 as the 8th Air Force Commander and the appointment of Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. in June 2015 to the post of USAFCENT Commander (which included HQ 9th Air Force until 2009), the Air Force in its proud heritage had never had a black NAF Commander or equivalent in Strategic Air Command (SAC) (now Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC)), Tactical Air Command (TAC) (now Air Combat Command (ACC) or US Forces Europe (USAFE). (HQ USAF Biographies, 2002) (Global Security) (Air Force Historical Research Agency , 2009) (Pawlyk, 2016) (HQ USAF Biographies, 2015)As previously mention Gen. Rice commanded fighter forces in PACAF. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. had been the three-star Vice Commander of the now deactivated US Strike Command at MacDill AFB in 1968, whose elements later formed the basis for US Central and US Special Operations Commands. (WDTVLIVE42) USSTRIKECOM had operational control over TAC fighters in various Joint Task Forces. (WDTVLIVE42) Gen. Chappie James, as previously stated, had fighters with a bomber intercept mission as Commander of NORAD in 1975. (North American Aerospace Defense Command Office of History, 2014)
There have been no black four-star Commanders of SAC, TAC/ ACC, USAFE or PACAF let alone a black Air Force Chief of Staff. I bring particular attention to USAFE and ACC as these Commands are or were at the forefront of the Air Force’s core warfighting efforts during the Cold War and Iraqi conflict. The Air Force’s key business is the business of Flying Combat Operations. That is its premier core capability. The fact that there have no black generals, with the exception of Gen. James at NORAD in 1975, commanding fighter or bomber forces in the Cold War or in Iraq until 2015 reflects poorly on the Air Force and its 70 plus years of existence. (US Air Force Biographies, n.d.), (Air Force Historical Research Agency, 2012)
I am not by any means attempting to diminish becoming Commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air Mobility Command or Vice Chief of Staff. I have personally met five of the six living black four-stars. I have worked closely with three of them and have the utmost respect for what they accomplished and for the massive scope of their responsibilities. However, placing black officers in command of AFMC and AETC (four of eight black 4 stars) represents a disturbing pattern of development for minority four-stars. Primarily because history shows that for a minority officer, this path has never lead to becoming Commander of USAFE or ACC or Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
What I am trying to highlight as it pertains to diversity is that in the case of minority officers, attaining these posts is touted as a great success. It is true that attaining four-star success is something that millions of military men and women will never do. However, as it pertains to history, the Air Force has defined great success for white officers as being commanders of its premier flying/fighting arms SAC, TAC, USAFE and becoming Chief of Staff. For white officers and for white fighter pilots in particular, AFMC and AETC, have often been pass-through or developmental assignments. I saw recently in an Associated Press article recently that the Air Force for the first time in “the post-Cold War” era nominated a four-star general to lead, Global Strike Command, the organization responsible for its nuclear missile corps and strategic bomber fleet. That four-star Gen. Robin Rand, is a career fighter pilot who has “never served in the nuclear missile corps or the bomber force” and previously was the commander of Air Education and Training Command. (Burns, 2015). True diversity happens when great career success is measured the same way across the ethnic groups.
Combat Operations vs. Combat Support
All components of the Armed Forces have greatly rewarded those leaders that successfully commanded combat operations during time of conflict. While working on the Defense Business Board’s diversity study, I learned that if I could identify how a military service defined combat operations, then I could find where the “operators” were and how minorities were selected for operations, all with an understanding that if minorities were not being selected for combat operations that they would not be well represented in the senior leadership landscape.
Later in this book, I will show that the Air Force has consistently promoted the leaders of flying “operations” to its highest leadership ranks. As I studied the biographical profiles of the Air Force’s most senior generals, a key distinguishing factor of the most successful generals was their role in leading flying operations and combat flying operations (commanding combat units and number of combat missions that they had during conflict).
In the Army, Combat Arms is a collective name for “those troops within national armed forces which participate in direct tactical land combat” (Rush, 2006). In general they include units that carry or employ a weapon system such as “Infantry, Artillery and special operations units and tank crews” (goarmy.com, 2016). Combat arms/operations carries with it the idea of being ‘close to the fight’ and leading those closest to the fight. It conjures up the picture of George Patton leading troops into battle.
In the Army a commissioned officer, typically a new second lieutenant, is given a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). That officer will either receive a combat arms or a combat support MOS (goarmy.com, 2016). This initial designation at commissioning is one of the most critical points in an officer’s career. It determines the path and even the career ceiling in most cases for that officer. It’s actually very simple math. The Army is structured in such a way that its four-star senior leadership positions, those commanding “armies” of operational troops, are coded for combat arms vs. combat support (www.army.mil, 2016).
While I was conducting research on the Defense Business Board’s diversity study, I was asked to attend a meeting of black Army generals. They knew that the Secretary of Defense was doing a study on diversity, and they wanted their inputs included. In the room were active duty and retired Army generals. They got into a spirited debate over whether newly commissioned black officers should go into combat arms or combat support careers.
The combat arms generals in the room were arguing the point that the Army selected its top generals, the leaders of its key warfighting commands, and its Chief of Staff from combat arms. General Colin Powell, had come from combat arms. One of the combat arms generals present, Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, stated that on his visit with the ’96 class of West Point that nearly 100 percent of the black cadets said that they chose not to enter combat arms because of the perception they would be treated better and have greater chances for success and promotion in combat support career fields. He felt that was the wrong direction to go in if the numbers of black senior army generals were to increase. (It is interesting to note that at the time of this writing, (05/2016) Gen Vincent K. Brooks is a four-star, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific (CG USARPAC).
The combat support generals’ argument mirrored that of the West Point class of ’96. They argued that combat support officers could reach relatively high rank, even four stars if commanding its logistics command, but also have a marketable skill after retirement instead of the harder task of trying to find a civilian job after serving in artillery or infantry. Further, the combat support generals argued that the Army did not have a good track record of promoting black officers even if they had the combat arms designation and had demonstrated great leadership in combat. The generals cited a recent example of a black combat arms general who had performed superbly in Iraq and had in their estimation been overlooked and snubbed for consideration as the next Army Chief of Staff. They were highly upset that Secretary Rumsfeld had called a white officer out of retirement to serve as Army Chief of Staff rather than consider this officer.
I gave the backdrop of the Army’s promotion scheme as a setup to lead into a discussion of the Air Force’s promotion scheme. In the Air Force, combat operations are primarily flying operations. When we talk about “operators” in the Air Force we are usually talking about pilots. When an officer is commissioned into the Air Force his initial designation, his Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), is just as crucial a career decision as the Army officer’s MOS. If that officer’s AFSC is not pilot, the chances of him or her becoming Chief of Staff of the Air Force are historically zero. The reason for that is that the Air Force’s force structure is similar to the Army’s in that the Air Force top leadership billets, it’s four-star officer billets, have been historically filled and even coded for “operators”—almost exclusively pilots in the Air Force. Additionally the designation of combat “support” or in the Air Force a “support officer”, rightly or wrongly has had the connotation of being less than that of an “operator” in the Air Force.
This chapter on combat arms or operations versus support was a critical preface for the rest of the book. While you read this book, you must keep in the back of your mind that the military rewards operators with stars, especially combat operators. As we dive into the careers of Air Force four-stars, you will begin to understand why diversity and operations career designations are inextricably tied. You will understand that one of the key components to understanding the diversity landscape of the Air Force is in the appointment of officers to positions commanding flying operations.
The Rise of the Fighter Generals
More than 40 years ago the Air Force decided that its senior leadership ranks would be comprised primarily of fighter pilots. This has been thoroughly documented as I will show later in this chapter and is an essential point. It is the underpinning of my own definition of diversity within the top leadership ranks of the Air Force:
Air Force Diversity = fighter pilot diversity + general officer fighter pilot diversity + four-star fighter pilot diversity in key warfighting commands (ACC, USAFE, PACAF and/or Chief of Staff).
Many diversity studies have tried to tie diversity success measures to the Air Force’s minority enlisted personnel population. Specifically, these studies have tried to identify some commensurate level of minority officer and specifically senior officer representation based on the minority-enlisted population. Reaching this commensurate level of minority officer representation in the Air Force, regardless of where these minority officers were serving in the Air Force, was considered an effective measure of diversity. These studies more directly connect minority officer population to the available pool of minorities with college degrees. This serves to irreversibly define and limit the potential diversity of the Air Force to the available pool of minorities with college degrees. It is true that the pool of available, qualified, college-educated minorities is a key issue that must be tackled. However, most diversity studies end there with a debate on how to attract available minority talent and then directly or indirectly conclude that the amount of minority talent available is not of sufficient quantity to significantly affect the officer diversity in the Air Force. This is a circuitous and erroneous definition of diversity that implies we can’t have a significantly higher percentage of minority officers than is reflected in either the Air Force’s enlisted population or the population at large.
What if the Air Force became the premier employer of top minority talent? Would it be over-diversified? Does this sound implausible? A look back at 1941 and the Tuskegee Airmen says that it’s not. Any definition of diversity that does not take into account the Air Force’s deliberate decision to place the bulk of its senior leadership in the ranks of its fighter pilots is sorely lacking. If the Air Force were to more effectively recruit and successfully attract college-educated minority talent to join its ranks, the only effective measure of diversity would be how successful the Air Force was in incorporating this talent into its fighter pilot ranks—its own predesignated target population for future senior leaders. This is huge paradigm shift for the Air Force in that the current paradigm says people make themselves fighter pilots by how well they do in the various phases of flight training vs. the Air Force targeting and developing talent to join its fighter pilot ranks. The Tuskegee “experiment” did just that. It targeted the best and brightest minorities, provided them initial flight training prior to their Army Air Corp training, set up an infrastructure (facilities and cadre) all with a view towards producing the best cadre of minority pilots possible. I also assert that as an unintended consequence it created a supportive culture for these black pilots that I believe greatly aided in the success of the experiment. I will discuss this further in the chapter entitled “Lessons from the Tuskegee Airmen Experiment”.
In his book Rise of the Fighter Generals, Mike Worden described how the Department of Defense had determined that its most senior leadership positions would be filled by pilots, specifi-cally fighter pilots. The shift began in the early 1970s. During that decade fighter pilots grew and outnumbered bomber pilots four to one. High-ranking officials in the DoD wanted to see a more “youthful” demographic in its ranks. Pilots with bomber backgrounds were reminiscent of the previous World Wars so pilots with fighter backgrounds seemed to embody the “new thinking” that was desired in the “upper echelons” of the Air Force. To ensure that this fighter structure began to take shape the Air Force’s chief of personnel Gen. Dixon “met the rising need for flag officers with fighter experience by promoting officers with fighter backgrounds earlier (‘below the zone’) than their competitors; this meant that they were young enough to compete in greater proportion for the higher flag officer ranks before reaching mandatory retirement at 35 years of service.” Dixon was only given one month to implement the new policy structure, but it was undeniably effective, because each year in the ‘70s a greater percentage of fighter pilots received promotions. “By 1982 there were no bomber generals in key Air Staff positions, and fighter generals outnumbered bomber generals in the major command by five to four.” (Worden, p. 226, Appendix C). Sen. Barry Goldwater spoke candidly in 1982 about Gen. Charles A. Gabriel’s promotion to Air Force chief of staff:
For several years, Mr. Chairman, I have encouraged succeeding Administrations, the Department of Defense, and the Air Force leadership to name a fighter pilot as the Chief of Staff. I remember Secretary Kissinger asked me once, ‘Why do you want a fighter pilot to be Chief of Staff?’ I said, ‘Well, they have to sit up in that cockpit all by themselves with no one to tell them what to do, where to go, how to do it, and when to quit. Now we finally have one up there, and I think we will get that kind of thinking…’ (Worden, p. 226, Senate Hearing Committee on the Armed Services, 97th Cong., 2d, sess., 19 May, 4.)
Research of Air Force history by Worden and others has shown that the decision to have fighter pilots lead the Air Force is nearly 40 years old. Worden states that “the issue here is not whether pilots should dominate the Air Force — the fact is they do.” The concern Worden has and others share is the limited prospects for nonfighter pilots within the Air Force (Worden, p. x). Again, it is the underpinning of my definition of diversity. The failure of the Air Force’s leadership to increase the number of black fighter pilots contributes to what I have called the “black ceiling” effect. It is nearly synonymous with saying this group of people will never be part of the Air Force’s senior most leadership positions.
It takes 30-plus years of development to produce a four-star fighter pilot. However, the most important personnel decisions take place at the beginning of a military officer’s career: Will that officer be allowed to go to pilot training after commissioning and upon completion of pilot training will that officer be selected to go into training to become a fighter pilot or some other type of pilot? In 2003, eight of the 12 Air Force four-star generals and 24 of its 41 three-star generals were fighter pilots. Up until the recent historic wave of diversity at the four-star level, a decision to put a pilot, especially a minority pilot, in the non-fighter pilot category was a career-capping decision.
Air Force history has shown since the mid-to-late 1970s when you made a second lieutenant pilot a bomber, cargo, helicopter or anything other than fighter pilot, that he was already out of the running for command of ACC, USAFE, PACAF and for Air Force Chief Staff—the Air Force’s premier leadership positions. Since 1982, only one Air Force Chief of Staff has not been a fighter pilot (Air Force Historical Studies Office, 2013). My research has shown that the Air Force is unwilling to actively track/target minority USAFA and ROTC graduates or even pre-commissioned cadets to ensure that there are minority fighter pilots in the fighter pilot pipeline that can be groomed for later development into the senior ranks.
This is in contrast to policies that I discovered were being used by the Army to ensure diversity in what it refers to as its “combat operations” military job specialties. The Army was well aware that most of its senior generals came from its combat operations specialties and took action to ensure that more minorities were placed in combat operations. One such action was to give combat ops designations to all distinguished graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs). What that would look like in the Air Force is setting aside extremely scarce SUPT/“pilot” slots for Distinguished Graduates of HBCUs and MIs to ensure a direct feed of minorities into the potential fighter pilot pipeline. A way to possibly better/more directly influence the number of potential black fighter pilots would be to allot a number of Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) slots to Distinguished Graduates of HBCUs and MIs. The difference being that essentially every graduate of ENJJPT gets a fighter.
If the Air Force is going to change the diversity of its most senior leadership positions, then it will have to actively begin identifying high-potential minorities for fighter pilot training upon commission and upon completion of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) into the Air Force.
A key component of the success of diversity efforts in civilian companies has always been the diversity of its most senior staff and its CEO. Up until the last few years, I felt that if the Air Force were graded today with the same standards as the civilian sector, it would receive a less than stellar grade. The historic diversity of today’s Air Force leadership should be lauded; however, the Air Force cannot slow down until it starts to produce greater diversity in its leadership positions closest to the fight: Air Combat Command, ACC’s premier fighter wings, Numbered Air Forces in ACC and USAFE. The historic appointments of Lt. Gen. Brown at USAFCENT and Maj. Gen. Clark at 8th Air Force personify the steps that need to be taken along a path toward the greater diversification of the Air Force’s most senior leadership positions.
The most striking differences between the civilian companies I interviewed and the Air Force was the Air Force’s lack of a profit motive, a mission incentive, and a driving force to change its approach to diversity. Delta Airlines relayed how the customers demanded to see more black pilots on flights. McDonald’s shared data on the “browning” of their customer base projected out to the year 2020 and felt that they had a profit-related incentive to have leadership that reflected and understood their client base. Others spoke of lawsuits or very forward thinking CEOs as a catalyst for the radical changes that needed to be made to increase the diversity of their senior leadership (Defense Business Board, 2004).
Perplexingly, when I studied the Air Force I found no such incentive. The Air Force is the greatest Air Force in the world with no near rival and an incredibly impressive record in combat. What motive does it have to make more of its fighter pilots black or Hispanic or female for that matter? How will diversity changes impact the Air Force’s bottom line? Who says that more minority fighter pilots and minority fighter pilot generals will make the Air Force better? There is nothing but the history of black pilots who flew over 70 years ago to suggest that a more diverse fighter pilot force might be of benefit to the Air Force. There are no enticing factors that can instigate the Air Force into making any radical changes to its culture or personnel policies.
In my 2003 report, the only compelling factor that I could foresee is that the Air Force, because of its failure to demonstrate as far as minorities were concerned, that there were paths to career success at its highest levels, would become less and less relevant to the minority community as an employer of choice—especially for the best and brightest minorities. It was my belief that over time the impact would be only be felt when these minority communities chose to point their children away from the Air Force, in terms of career choice, and when they decided to vote against Air Force budget dollars.