Pentagon Should Improve Capabilities to Assess Racial, Gender Disparities

The Defense Department has made some strides to study racial and gender disparities, but could do more to evaluate the causes of these inequalities in the military justice system, the Government Accountability Office says.

In a report published May 30, the watchdog said although the military services gather gender information, they don’t collect and have consistent information about race and ethnicity in their investigations, military justice and personnel databases. That dearth of information makes it harder to zero in on disparities in the military justice system, GAO warned.

The services also don’t report demographic information in their annual military justice reports, which would give them better insight into potential disparities.

In terms of disparities, blacks, Hispanics and males were more likely than whites or women to be tried in general and special courts martial in all military services, according to GAO findings.

The watchdog made 11 recommendations, including that Pentagon evaluates and begins tackling the causes of disparities in the military justice system.

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