The US Marine Corps is looking to improve the diversity of their force, conducting a force-wide project in order to better understand “the current mindset of African-American youth” and asking Marines to participate as research subjects.
According to Military.com, the Corps’ project is being spearheaded by Recruiting Command, in addition to another project entitled the “Understanding the Prospect Enlistment Behavior Model”- in an effort to project the “thoughts, perceptions and actions” of potential recruits when it comes to joining the Marines.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command spokesman Jim Edwards says that the research is taking place at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, California.
Enlisted African-American Marines ranked at Lance Corporal and below, as well as officers ranked at Captain and below, were invited for one-on-one interviews for the first topic, while Marines of a variety of ethnic backgrounds were invited to participate in a focus group for the second.
“Our marketing department is constantly evaluating the effectiveness of advertising models and initiatives in order to best support our Marine recruiters and officer selection officers,” Edwards said in a statement. “These topics were chosen in support of our enduring efforts to recruit future Marines from diverse backgrounds.”
The US Marines have been very open about wanting to diversify their force, being the most caucasian and male of all the military branches, particularly in senior ranks.
According to Marine Corps data from earlier this year, only 12 percent of all enlisted troops and less than 6 percent of officers are black, with only 10 general officers of the same race in the force.
Aware of this, the USMC has been driving for more women and minorities in the force since at least 2012, when ad campaigns were aimed at targeting blacks and women.
“What distinguishes certain groups, particularly African-Americans, is that they are closely associated with their communities at home,” then-head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command Major General Joseph Osterman said.
In 2013, then-Marine Corps Commandant General Jim Amos told Marine leadership that they had “failed” to promote diversity in the officer Corps and that it was “imperative that the Corps take a fresh approach to diversity, one that reflects our reputation for performance and leadership.”
The Marines have stepped up their recruiting game for women and minorities, hoping to better fill the ranks with these studies, which have targeted several demographic groups since 2013.
“Targeted studies toward specific demographics have been part of our marketing program for several years, to include research focused on races and gender,” Edwards said.
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