Armed Forces News

Soldiers from 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, California Army National Guard, prepare to raise the American flag at Multinational Base - Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, August 5, 2013. The flags are replaced periodically due to wear from harsh Afghanistan weather conditions. (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Jessi Ann McCormick)

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.

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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.

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