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Chapter 8:


One critical reason for monitoring social representation within the military stems from the difficulties and dangers Servicemembers face during deployments. As individuals and units respond to threats to our national security and vital interests in distant lands, it is incumbent upon personnel policy makers to consider the background of those deployed so as to monitor whether undue burdens are being placed on particular social and/or demographic groups.

The population representation of deployed Servicemembers has been a critical concern at times when these deployments placed them at considerable risk. For example, during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, several Black leaders expressed concern that a disproportionate number of minorities were required to risk their lives for their country. [footnote 1] Indeed, editions of this report from the time of the Gulf War indicated that Blacks made up a substantially larger proportion of the Military Services than their share of the civilian population. [footnote 2] Minority representation among the participants in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm reflected the racial/ethnic composition of the Services at that time.

A Servicemember is considered to be deployed when that individual is on orders and performing duties in a training exercise or operation at a location that makes it infeasible to spend off-duty time at home. Students, trainees, members performing guard or detail duties in garrison, and those who are hospitalized or unavailable because of disciplinary action are not considered to be deployed. Neither are members who are assigned to a remote location, such as Korea, unaccompanied by their families.

The Department of Defense has collected information on some deployments since the end of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness authorized the Defense Manpower Data Center to collect data that identifies individuals who are deployed on specified operations. For FY 2000, data were obtained for Servicemembers supporting operations in Kosovo, Bosnia, or the Persian Gulf. The data cover all members deployed to accomplish these missions, those actually serving in the three locations and those conducting mission-related activities in other areas of the world. Our analysis of representation issues is based on those members who were reported as being in a deployed status at some time during FY 2000.

Future years will bring about a more comprehensive record of deployments. Congress has mandated that, beginning in FY 2001, the Services record the number of days that each member is deployed. [footnote 3] The information in this database will be used to manage deployments, including a requirement for general/flag officer approval of any deployment lasting 182 days or more, and payment of an increased per diem for members who are deployed more than 401 of the previous 730 days. This information will provide data for a more complete accounting of population representation among deployed individuals in future years.

Table 8.1 indicates that on the average, approximately 11 percent of the Active Component forces were deployed to a named operation at some time during FY 2000. [footnote 4] The percent deployed varied from 4 percent for the Army to nearly 19 percent for the Air Force. The analysis of representation presented in this chapter focuses on those who were deployed at some time during FY 2000 to support U.S. missions in Kosovo, Bosnia, or the Persian Gulf. This group comprises over 67,000 active duty members and 3,500 Reservists. Data for the Air Force are incomplete and do not include deployments that began after February 2000. Although this omission reduces the total number of deployments reported, it should have a minimal effect on social representation issues because the demographic and occupational composition of deployed Servicemembers is expected to be relatively constant throughout the year.

Table 8.1. Average FY 2000 Active Component Deployments by Service




Marine Corps

Air Force


End Strength






Average Deployed*






Percent Deployed






* Deployed to a named operation as defined by the Joint Chiefs of Staff or a Service. Excludes personnel residing overseas.
Source: Annual Report to the President and Congress, 2001.

[footnote 1] Schubert, F.N. and Kraus, T.L. (Eds.) The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Washington, DC: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1995). [back to paragraph]

[footnote 2] See Department of Defense, Population Representation in the Military Services: Fiscal Year 1991 (Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Force Management and Personnel], October 1992). [back to paragraph]

[footnote 3] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, Section 586, Public Law 106-65. [back to paragraph]

[footnote 4] Cohen, W.S., Annual Report to the President and Congress, 2001 (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2001), Table N-1. [back to paragraph]

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