Publications Éditoriaux de l'Ifri
3-star U.S. Army General BOSTICK

Racial integration - Lessons from the U.S. Army Intervention at the "Business and the State: Migration Policies, Diversity and Integration" international conference, January 13th, 2012 - Ifri

On Friday, the 13th of January, 2012, the Center for Migrations and Citizenship welcomed 3-star U.S. Army General Bostick as a speaker of its international conference: "Business and the State: Migration Policies, Diversity and Integration".

Racial integration – Lessons from the U.S. Army

Please find below the transcript of his speech entitled "America's Army Represents America": 

"Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. I especially wish to thank Monsieur Bertossi, Director of the Center for Migrations and Citizenship. I also want to thank Commissioner Garcia for his comments. I am truly honored by the opportunity to share my thoughts with you about Diversity in the Army of the United States of America.

The common bonds between the citizens of France and the citizens of the United States date back well before the birth of our democracies. The very ideas that served as the foundation for modern democracy were matured here in France and nurtured by the writings of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau whose works, like the "Social Contract", served as inspiration for the American and French revolutions. The French and the Americans are kindred spirits who share a philosophical heritage, and a commitment to democracy, freedom, equality, and liberty.

This commitment manifests itself further in the US Army's longstanding ties with the French Army. French men and women have fought for and defended freedom alongside American men and women from the 1770s to today's current conflicts. We have liberally borrowed from French military courtesy and customs and gained much from our continuing friendship.
As an Army engineer, I share a special connection with the French. With the support of professional French Military Engineers, our young Army Corps of Engineers was created during America's War for Independence. Today, that French heritage is still seen within our Engineer Corps. The language of the Engineer - "abatis", "gabions", "fascines" and "pontons" - has its roots in 18th century France. Even the motto of the American Engineers, "ESSAYONS," - "Let us try" is French.
Additionally, one of the most prized decorations the US Army Engineer Association bestows on select members is the de Fleury Medal, an award named in honor of François de Fleury, a French Engineer who volunteered to serve with the Continental Army during the American Revolution. We are proud of our shared heritage and look forward to our continued partnership.

In his book, The Greater Journey, American historian David McCullough, chronicles the experiences of Americans who traveled to Paris throughout much of the 19th Century. American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others came to Paris to excel in their work. Elizabeth Blackwell came to Paris and became the first female doctor in America.
American politician Charles Sumner enrolled in the Sorbonne where he saw, for the first time, black students studying side-by-side with white students. Sumner realized that the distance between blacks and whites was education, and as a US Senator he was a leader of antislavery forces working closely with Abraham Lincoln. James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F.B. Morse traveled to Paris to study writing and painting, respectively. Morse changed the way we communicated by inventing the telegraph. Writers like Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James and Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin had wonderful learning experiences in Paris. Paris would shape the careers of these and many other Americans.

French and American relations are not limited to our past. Today we face many similar challenges in our pursuits toward preserving freedom and defending liberty. Diversity and integration are central themes facing the US Military today as they have throughout our existence. The questions that emanate from these themes are no different from those that confront all democracies and require constant vigilance and action.

As General Raymond Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, recently stated, "We are an Army that represents the best about our Nation - diversity, hard work, and moral and ethical values. Young men and women today want to be part of something greater than themselves. This is why they want to be a part of our Army. This is why America trusts us with their sons and daughters."
The U.S. Armed Forces are a reflection of America, an All Volunteer Force representing virtually every possible ethnic and religious group, working together to support and defend our Nation. Today's service-members are judged by their performance and potential - never by race, color, religion or gender.

The US Army is built on the belief that every American deserves the opportunity to serve his or her country. More importantly, courageous leaders such as Presidents Abraham Lincoln, and Harry Truman believed that opening up the armed services to all Americans was not only 'right' but also made us stronger and better.

Historical Review
It has often been said, that to get where you are going, you must first know where you have been. Diversity within the ranks of the US Army dates back to the Revolutionary War when in 1778, the 1st Rhode Island Regiment was the first regiment to formally include blacks among their Soldiers.

Over the course of the next 170 years that encompassed numerous conflicts from the War of 1812 to World War II, Americans from every race and ethnic background served with the Army.
While the Army remained primarily segregated and discrimination was prevalent, integration did occur on the battlefield. I'd like to highlight just a few historical facts from our history of integration and diversity.

At the end of the Civil War, more than 200,000 African-Americans were serving in the military forces of the United States, fighting to preserve a Union that as recently as 1857 had constitutionally declared them ineligible for United States citizenship. During the Civil War more than1,000 Mexican-Americans served in the Union Army. In 1866, the U.S. Army established the Indian Scouts. These Native Americans were active in the American West in the late 1800s and early 1900s, accompanying Gen. John J. Pershing's expedition to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa in 1916. In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave, was the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1943, the Women's Army Corps or "WACs" received full status in the Armed Forces with over 150,000 WACs serving in World War II. While women had served in every American conflict, WW II was the first time women's contributions to the war effort were embraced. General Douglas MacArthur called the WACs "my best soldiers," adding that they "worked harder, complained less, and were better disciplined than men."

Of course, not all of our history is positive.
In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 resulting in the Internment of US Citizens and resident aliens with foreign enemy ancestry. The US government authorized the internment, without trial or hearings, of more than 110,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan. The same executive order was also applied to smaller numbers of residents of the United States who were of Italian or German descent.

It is important to note a stirring testimonial to the power of the human spirit, selfless service, and immigrant patriotism that arose during this dark time. Thousands of Japanese Americans, many coming from internment camps themselves, volunteered to serve in the Army during WW II even while many of their family members remained in US internment camps.
Notable among these volunteers were the members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese Americans, and the 100th Infantry Battalion, another all-Japanese unit, made up of Soldiers from Hawaii.
In October of 1944, the 442nd rescued an American battalion which had been cut off and surrounded by the enemy in the Voges Mountains. In the battle to recover the lost battalion, the 442nd suffered 800 casualties to rescue 211 men. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is the most decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forces including Senator Daniel Inouye who earned the Medal of Honor .
On July 15th, 1945, President Truman honored the 442nd RCT on the White House lawn and foreshadowed sweeping changes to come, telling them, "You fought for the free nations of the world. You fought not only the enemy, you fought prejudice - and you won. Keep up that fight... continue to win - make this great Republic stand for what the Constitution says it stands for: 'the welfare of all the people, all the time'."
In 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 directing integration of the military and equality of treatment for all persons in the armed services, without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.
In 1976, 119 women become the first women cadets at the United States Military Academy, West Point when they join the Class of 1980. I was a cadet at West Point and this was a difficult transition, but today it is difficult to imagine a military without the very talented female graduates of the military Academy. Graduates that were first in their class, Rhode Scholars, Athletic stars, and superb leaders serving at all levels including general officer.

Today the U.S. Army and the Armed Forces at large includes all races, genders, religions and ethnic groups. On September 20th of 2011, the United States repealed the law known as, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," removing all barriers to service based on sexual orientation. Since the repeal of DADT, we have seen no impact on recruiting or retention, and no issues related to the treatment of Gay or Lesbian Soldiers.

The Army Today
Today the Army is truly reflective of our society with the active duty Army population closely mirroring the general American population. The Army and the nation are respectively 62% and 64% White; 20% and 13% Black; 11% and 16% Hispanic; 4% and 5% Asian; 3% and 2% other ethnic background. Women comprise almost 14% of our Army with women and minorities serving honorably and with distinction at all levels.

Diversity Strategy
We have a strategy for maintaining a diverse Army that includes a vision of the Army as the national leader in embracing the strengths of diverse people in an inclusive environment... investing in and managing talent, valuing individuals, and developing culturally astute Soldiers and Civilians who enhance our communities and are prepared for the human dimension of leadership and global engagements. We have identified five goals to ensure we achieve our vision.
1. We must ensure leader commitment to diversity and inclusion practices at all levels of the Army.
2. We must institutionalize talent management processes that identify, recruit, develop, and retain a cadre of high performing Soldiers and Civilians from diverse backgrounds.
3. We must implement diversity training & education programs that develop socio-cultural competencies to meet the demands of the 21st-century expeditionary force.
4. We must establish programs, policies, and procedures that enhance cultural competency.
5. We must create and maintain an inclusive environment where the value of diverse knowledge, experiences and backgrounds enhances mission readiness.

I believe our current Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Peter Chiarelli described our task well when he said, "Every Soldier adds to the great diversity of our formations, and it is our leaders at all levels who find and unlock the hidden potential of every Soldier, empowering them to become part of our band of brothers and sisters."

The Army has always strived to accommodate individual religious beliefs and practices, and we have seen an increase in requests for exceptions to uniform policy for religious reasons. For example, three Sikh Soldiers requested to have beards, unshorn hair and to wear turbans. Two of these Soldiers are doctors and one is a medic. Two Muslim Soldiers, both doctors, and a Jewish chaplain have requested to have beards. We review all requests for religious accommodation against military necessity, and make every attempt to balance our military requirements with individual religious based requests while ensuring that we do not jeopardize the Army's mission.

We have also recently completed a review of Women in the Army and the roles and responsibilities assigned to them. The Army's current assignment policy allows female Soldiers to serve in any officer or enlisted specialty or position, except in those specialties, positions, or units (battalion size or smaller) which are assigned a routine mission to engage in direct combat, or which collocate with units assigned a direct combat mission. As a result of this review, the Army is considering elimination of its collocation restriction and potentially opening additional specialties that were previously closed to women.

Recruiting strategies for changing demographics
We have a diverse military today, but maintaining that diversity is not something we take for granted. The United States established the All Volunteer Force in 1973 as a response to a myriad of changes across the nation. Since that time, swings in the nation's economic conditions and demographic make-up have presented both challenges and great opportunities to manning the All-Volunteer Force.

We have undertaken targeted recruiting strategies in recent years to meet our mission requirements. One such strategy we implemented in 2009 was a pilot program called, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interests, or MAVNI. This program ran for a year and gave legal aliens with skills considered to be vital to national interest - doctors, nurses, and certain language experts - the opportunity to expedite the naturalization process by serving in the U.S. military.

Normally, permanent residents who enlist in the U.S. military must be lawful permanent residents (hold a green card) before they can enlist. However, through the MAVNI program, asylums, refugees, and those in certain non-immigrant visa categories could obtain citizenship without first becoming a permanent resident.
The MAVNI program has not been made a permanent program and is not open to new applications at this time. The Army is re-examining the process of completing thorough background checks on individuals who apply to the program, however; nearly all of the Soldiers already in the program have become American citizens.
The MAVNI program helps participants further their opportunities while providing needed skills to the US military. For example, one participant who is now an Army nurse, claimed that she has always wanted to be a doctor, but could not overcome the obstacles presented by not having permanent residency in the US. She was commissioned into the Army, became a citizen, and was accepted into several medical schools. She hopes to continue her military service as an Army physician.
Of the MAVNI participants contracted for their language skills, half of them have a Master's Degree or higher. MAVNI Soldiers with language skills play vital roles in our Special Forces units, bridging critical language and communication gaps with our allies.
Beyond MAVNI, close to 30,000 non-citizens serve in uniform today, and about 8,000 legal permanent resident aliens (green card holders) enlist each year. A non-US citizen must be a legal resident to join the military. Undocumented immigrants and individuals living in the US on temporary visas are not eligible to join the military.

US law ensures that the sacrifice of non-citizens during a time of national need is met with an opportunity for early citizenship, to recognize their contribution and sacrifice. In fact, today's service members are eligible for expedited citizenship under a July 2002 Executive Order, and the military services have worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to streamline citizenship processing for service members.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 43,000 members of the Armed Forces have attained their citizenship while serving this nation. During war time, a legal resident of the United States is eligible to apply for citizenship the day he or she enlists in the military. During peacetime, an individual may apply for citizenship after a year of military service.

Another area in which we face challenges is in screening out potential problems. There are individuals and groups throughout the United States who hold extremist views that are inconsistent with the ideals of the nation and the Army. White Supremacy Groups and ethnic criminal gangs are a few of the prominent examples. We do our best to ensure that we do not allow these individuals access to our ranks. We consider racism and bigotry intolerable as they undermine the trust we have in each other as Soldiers.

Beyond diversity of race, ethnicity and gender, the Army is focused on diversity of talent. Less than one of four young Americans qualified for military service. They are not qualified for several reasons including medical, education/aptitude, and misconduct. We need the very best serving in our ranks.
Recruiting strategies must continue to adjust to keep pace with projected changes to demographic populations, national perceptions, and the increasing pool of non-eligible recruits. We require diversity of skills including the critical areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Closing Remarks
This is a time of great change across the globe and this conversation about diversity is vital to ensuring our future successes. The Army is at the forefront of diversity initiatives as we have often led the way in providing leadership opportunities for minorities and women. The result has been the creation of the largest single pool of diverse talent available in the country.
But civilian leadership is critical for change. Diversity starts at the very top of every government where diversity of ideas and beliefs is essential to a truly free and just society. America's leadership is diverse in every possible way and that only strengthens our country.
My thanks again to Monsieur Bertossi and the Center for Migrations and Citizenship, and to each of you for allowing me the opportunity to speak with you today.

I want to leave you with one final thought.
A proud Lady stands in New York Harbor-a gift from the citizens of France to the citizens of the United States. The Statue of Liberty stands as a testament to the shared values and heritage of our two peoples. The citizens of the United States of America find our charter and the answer to the question of Diversity inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
We fully recognize that diversity, like freedom, is not a destination, but rather a journey that requires constant vigilance and action. We remain dedicated to that proposition and the belief that for us to truly breath free, we must do so together, inclusively, as one people, living and serving equally together."

General Bostick, January, 13th, 2012, Ifri.


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