Army officers who are candidates for promotion or selection no longer will provide photos. The service has decided to eliminate them, in an effort to eliminate a practice that may inadvertently foster discrimination.
Service leaders made the decision after reviewing a study conducted in 2017 and 2018, which concluded that photos could trigger an “unconscious bias” in favor of or against candidates.
The study entailed running two identical promotion boards simultaneously – one with photos, and one without. Minorities and women fared better in the latter of the two.
Leadership also determined that the other contents of a promotion board file would provide better information about potential candidates for promotion or selection than photos.
“We need to take a harder look at ourselves and make sure that we’re doing all that we can to have a holistic effort to listen to our soldiers, or civilians and our families to enact initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion,” Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy said.