***STATEMENT*** AIR FORCE ANNOUNCES INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF RACIAL DISPARITIES AFTER PROTECT OUR DEFENDERS REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE
Washington, DC – Today, the Department of the Air Force Inspector General announced it will independently review the Air Force’s record on racial disparities. The announcement comes on the heels of Protect Our Defenders’ (POD) recent racial disparity report revealing the Air Force has repeatedly concealed its records, embellished its efforts, and attempted to discredit its own statistics while failing to address persistent racial disparities in the military justice system since 2016. The refusal of the Air Force to adequately address the inequalities facing Black and Hispanic servicemembers is particularly troubling, as POD’s 2017 report and coverage by USA Today found the Air Force has the worst military justice racial disparities in the Department of Defense (DoD).
Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright — the most senior enlisted member of the Air Force and one of the few Black Airmen in a senior leadership position — shared his powerful response to the death of George Floyd and POD’s report. In his tweets, Wright highlighted “the Air Force’s own demons … including the racial disparities in military justice and discipline among our youngest Black male Airmen and the clear lack of diversity in our senior officer ranks.” Wright acknowledged his intent to work with four star General and Air Force Chief of Staff, Dave Goldfein, on an independent review of the military justice system and expressed his belief that the Air Force has not truly progressed in areas of racial justice and diversity among its ranks.
Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:
“It was welcome news to hear the Air Force is conducting an investigation into an issue that has plagued it for decades. I hope the Air Force seizes the opportunity for true change by listening to outside experts and the airmen impacted by racial disparities so that the service may finally find real solutions to the barriers to equal treatment.”
U.S Air Force: Air Force IG directed to independently examine racial disparities in service’s discipline, advancement opportunities: https://www.af.mil/News/
USA Today: Air Force admits ‘persistent and consistent’ racial bias against black airmen, records show: https://www.usatoday.
Air Force Times: Goldfein: ‘Every American should be outraged’ at police conduct in death of George Floyd: https://www.airforcetimes.com/
Congressional Release: Norton Says Report from Protect Our Defenders Finding Racial Disparities in Courts-Martial, Nonjudicial Punishments Breaks New Ground: https://norton.house.gov/
Click here to read POD’s 2020 report summary with key findings: https://www.
Click here to read the full 2020 disparity report: https://www.