The U.S. military by nature is a conservative or risk adverse institution, which feels that it is superior to the militaries of other nations and therefore does not have much to learn from their experiences. It therefore resists any changes, whether they relate to operational or social issues, for fear they might impact military readiness. For example, the Air Force still resists attempts to rely on unmanned aircraft as opposed to manned planes.
This resistance to change is particularly strong when it comes to social issues. In 1948, when President Truman ordered the armed forces to integrate African-Americans into the force, Army leaders claimed it would ruin the Army. And when Congress opened up combat positions to women in the early 1990s, the Air Force chief of staff went so far as to say that he would rather have an unqualified man than a woman piloting a combat aircraft.
The above excerpt was originally published in The Fresh Outlook. Click here to view the full article.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.