Diversity of Service Academy Entrants and Graduates
The U.S. Congress directed the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment of recruiting efforts, admissions policies, graduation rates, and career success rates with respect to the diversity of entrants and graduates of the United States Military Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, and the United States Naval Academy. Data provided by the service academies on the demographics of recent entering classes and their outcomes (such as first-year completion rates, graduation rates, completion of initial service obligation [ISO] following graduation, and propensity to stay in the military beyond ISO completion) allowed a descriptive analysis of trends across years and a comparison with similar data on very selective civilian four-year institutions. Although the percentages of women and nonwhite entrants have increased, these groups tended to have lower graduation and ISO completion rates than their counterparts. However, in recent entry cohorts, these groups showed improved graduation rates, and the rates were similar to or higher than those in civilian institutions. The U.S. Department of Defense can support service efforts to increase diversity in the academies by developing a standardized definition of diversity, reviewing goals and metrics to measure progress in this area, and improving career retention of a diverse group of officers.
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