Barriers to minority participation in special operations forces / Margaret C. Harrell ... [et al.].

Santa Monica, CA : RAND, 1999.
xxvi, 139 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.


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Summary note
This report assesses minority representation and recruiting in special operations forces (SOF). It examines the extent of underrepresentation of minorities in SOF and the reasons for it and provides recommendations to help improve such underrepresentation. The authors used personnel data from the U.S. Special Operations Command and the various component commands to portray the racial/ethnic composition of SOF and compared it to the racial/ethnic composition of different comparison groups. The study found that minorities are, indeed, underrepresented in SOF -- especially blacks. Barriers to joining SOF consisted of structural barriers such as the ASVAB score cutoffs and the swimming requirement, perceptual barriers such as lack of knowledge and community support and lack of identification with SOF, as well as a possible lack of interest in SOF. The authors offer several recommendations to overcome these barriers.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (p. 129-139).
  • Ch. 1. Introduction
  • Ch. 2. Are Minorities Underrepresented in SOF?
  • Ch. 3. Barriers to Minority Participation in the Assessment and Training Process
  • Ch. 4. Qualitative Methodology
  • Ch. 5. Perceptions of SOF and a SOF Career as Barriers to Participation
  • Ch. 6. Lack of Individual Knowledge and Community Support of SOF as a Barrier to Participation
  • Ch. 7. Lack of Identification as a Barrier to Participation
  • Ch. 8. Swimming Requirement as a Barrier to Participation
  • Ch. 9. Lack of Interest in SOF as a Barrier to Minority Participation
  • Ch. 10. Service Efforts to Increase Minority Representation in SOF
  • Ch. 11. Conclusions and Recommendations
  • App. A. SOF: Background and Missions
  • App. B. SOF Assessment and Training
  • App. C. Defining Source Populations for SOF
  • App. D. Comparisons of SOF With Selected Civilian Organizations
  • App. E. Analysis of Army SFAS Data, FY94-FY97
  • App. F. Protocols for Focus Group Discussions.
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