Thursday, March 18, 2010

Diversity Thursday II: Electric Boogaloo

THIS is also how you evaluate. The process is simple - yet difficult.

Why difficult? Well, you need to outline some specific objective indicators of success that are easy to put down in numbers.

These indicators for success have everything to do with ability, performance and excellence.

This process works for everything you want ..... nuclear engineers, officers, enlisted personnel, aviators. The math isn't perfect - but it works.

That is the problem. Is selecting the best and most capable the #1 personnel priority for the Navy or the Naval Academy?

No, your self-identified ethnicity and race is. Two things that have nothing to do with excellence. They have everything to do with feeding grievance and providing a paycheck.

Even though you can find a little of that
vile intellectual cancer in the SEALS - it is good to see though that in a line of work with little time for foolishness - they are thinking right.
If a young man has spent countless hours bobbing in a pool during water polo matches, he’s more likely to survive the butt-kicking training required to become a Navy SEAL.

Same goes if he rock climbs or mountain bikes. And believe it or not, if he plays chess, his odds of passing triple.

Those are some findings from a nearly $500,000 Gallup study commissioned by the Navy. The Coronado-based Naval Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate is trying to increase its ranks — a goal that has proved somewhat elusive. The elite service has not met its recruiting goals for enlisted SEALs in two of the past four years.

The fighters famous for their expertise on sea, air and land created a recruiting arm in late 2005 to market themselves for the first time. It was a culture change: Prior generations of SEALs came to them, not the other way around.

Thanks to the Gallup study conducted last fall, Navy leaders now know that their sweet spot rests in seven sports — and they’re not the most glamorous, traditionally tough-guy pastimes such as football.

Water polo tops the list, with a man’s odds nearly doubling if he played on a high school or college team. Triathlons, lacrosse, boxing, rugby, swimming and wrestling are the other six.
If you are a quality organization that rewards excellence - then the best will find you from every part of the country.

If you can't - then you have the opportunity to ask why and fix it or accept it - or cheat and comprise your standards.

Thing is, when you cheat in the military - you get sub-optimal performance. When you get sub-optimal performance - you get your own people killed.


Old NFO said...

I'm not a SEAL but I've been around them just a little.  I'm hopeful they can resist the PC infection that has taken hold of the rest of the Navy.  Everyone else has lowered their standards in order to be more "inclusive" and it costs us every day in readiness and capability.  All we need is a bunch of Demi Moore's out there as affirmative action SEALS.

JimmyMac said...

I'd love to see a candid discussion without name-calling and witty finger-pointing address these two questions: 
  -  Is it a desireable goal in a constitutional democracy to have an armed force demographically reflect the society it serves?  Yes, in every demographic measure.
  -  If your answer is yes, how would you go about doing that? 
  Speaking only for myself, I'd prefer to hear from CDR S.  I find his posts intellecutally honest, thought-provoking, and devoid of the traditional school-yard bullying you see on so many blogs includig this one.   

LT B said...

Desireable?  Sure, probable?  Not likely right now.  Demographics being what they are, there are those in society that las others.  Different cultures come in to our nation w/ different memes and others have had them built here as well.  Seek out the best and brightest, instill strength, courage, honor and pride then turn your troops loose on the civilian world to recruit w/ that sense of honor and pride and share it w/ the juniors.  Stress the importance of education throughout all of American society and clean up the educational union's hold on public education.  Focus on basics, hold standards and eventually, you will be more diverse w/o the fall in standards.  It will be long, hard and take work.  It will also not be done in a FITREP cycle so it must be a national goal to hold standards and not make excuses.  The military will become more diverse, and will profit as a result.  Cutting corners, race counting and lying about stats is not the way to go.  But that is just my opinion.

gorilspi said...

"in every demographic measure"?

Do you mean age as well?  Perhaps the military might need to address age discrimination, as the majority of servicemembers are in their 20s.  Amazingly, the average age is around 20 for most services.

I remember hearing something about Baby Boomers and social security or something...however, we are not really "reflecting society" in their numbers in the active duty all. 

If you include civilians and Reservists in the numbers, however, you begin to inch closer to reflecting that age group. 

Also, we are very short on representing the 0-17 demo as well. 

And this is just one other way to classify people beyond race.  What about health (obesity rates), socio-economic backgrounds, geographic location, etc. 

Gotta go look at that census form to see how we are broken out by category in every way.

cdrsalamander said...

"Desirable?"  ..... more like "nice."

It would also apply to Congress, Doctors, policemen, chemists, and basketball players.  Thing is - it can't be.  The only way to get there is to have a rigid system of quotas in place that work around objective criteria.

Let me just offer this up to you.  I will use Americans defined as Black by the school system in Jacksonville FL as an example.  You can do this for any city - I just happened to get this up first out of google.

Here is a quote to ponder:"<span>A 2008 report by The Schott Foundation for Public Education, a program that tracks the progress of black male students in public education, determined black male students graduated at drastically lower rates than their peers during the 2005-06 school year. Duval County's overall graduation rate that year was 61 percent. That number stood at 38 percent for black men.<span>"</span></span>

How will you ever be able to have a reflection of society when broken down by race, when for such things as Navy officers that require an exceptionally high education requirement - different racial groups do not have the same objective criteria as an entering argument - this time % graduation.  You have an exceptionally smaller cohort of black men, as a percentage, then you do for, say, Americans of Japanese extraction.  It is simple math and percentages.   

cdrsalamander said...

<p>If Black and Japanese Americans graduated in approx the same percentage from High School and College at the same rates - then you would have an easier job making the percentages work if you have objective selection criteria.  We are not there.
</p><p>We don't live in the perfect world you desire.  That leaves  you with a couple of choices.  You can have the government actively discriminate on the basis of self-identified race and ethnicity in order to meet racial percentages - that is racism by definition - or you can provide an open door to opportunity for all based on objective criteria based on what is needed to succeed.  You know - judge someone by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
</p><p>If you want to discriminate on the basis of race for the Navy - then we should do it for all.  First, we will start with your doctors, then your football team, then your basketball team, and then the engineers and technicians that work on the aircraft that you put your wife and children on when they fly to grandmother's house.
</p><p>You can read more about the challenge, this time in Ohio colleges here.

lkj said...

It has been a long time since I posted; I have been way too busy coaching.

In our modern society, sports have been perverted.  There was a time when people recognised why kids play sports; the games used to be for the players.  Americian-rules football, for example was a way for an entire generation to learn how to git knocked down, dust themselves off, and stand up for the next play.  I leaned things on the football practice field that have helped me all my life.  I made it throught OCS becase I make it through two weeks of three-a-days in my freshman year of high school.  At the USNA, they used to box.  There is nothing like a punch in the nose to awaken one.  

We need to go back to the days were all students were required to play a sport.

Old NFO said...

Please explain why diversity is a good thing.  Why is a match between the population at large and the population in a sub group desirable?  Unless and until the diversity Nazi's address the disparity in the NBA and the NFL they should keep their traps shut!

Anthony Mirvish said...

The greater quantity vs lower quality tradeoff works only when there's a large gain for a relatively small reduction in standards.  The classic example is WWII naval aviation, where the Japanese went all-out for an ultra-elite force that, in practice, wasn't sufficiently better (even man-for-man) than its US counterpart to make up for numbers and more survivable aircraft.  And, US naval aviators were still elite by any standard.  After WWII, when the armed forces de-segregated, they got a lot more people without reduction in standards.  It was done right.  With gender, there has been a net loss for things involving physical strength/endurance, for a fixed crew size, and new disciplinary challenges.  

For the SEALS, if small changes will bring in more people (or being proactive in recruiting the fully qualified), all of whom are still so capable that they're still a small fraction of the overall military age population, it may be okay i.e. if only 40% wash-out versus 70% even after rigorous screening.  The problem will be the temptation to go further just to increase numbers.  At some point, numbers will also produce a more bureaucratic culture even in elite units and you'll lose the unique attributes that these units currently possess.  It's like doctors:  there is a finite number of people who can do the job. 

DG said...

Here's another great reason why its not actually desirable that every profession or group - military or not - should not slavishly reflect every public demographic: it limits opportunity.

If you have minorities that excel in certain areas, or are well suited, culturally, to certain professions, a demographic regime would end up imposing quotas that would limit participation. "Oh no, we already have enough of you, Mr. X - your space is reserved for this other group". That has happened historically - look at Ivy League admission quotas in the 20s or 30s, or more recent quotas at places like MIT or CalTech.

C-dore 14 said...

Really agree with you about the requirement for kids to play a sport.  I did very little in the way of sports until I was sent to military school at 14.  There they required everyone to join a team or to participate in a daily PE program (think laps around the parade field during a Minnesota winter).  I wasn't much of an athlete but, like you, I learned things that stayed with me throughout my life.

C-dore 14 said...

I think that the SEALs are approaching this correctly by studying the background of successful candidates and then expanding their recruiting of people with similar backgrounds.  At first glance, these sports seem to be evident as they all require strength, endurance, and (with the exception of swimming) some degree of physical contact.  Unfortunately, analysis and targeted recruiting of qualified individuals is hard work and doesn't produce immediate results...hence the shortcuts to the "goals" we've seen in other areas.