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Addressing Diversity, Army Will Remove Photos of Officer Candidates in Promotion Reviews – The New York Times

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Promotion records will still identify the race of candidates, Army officials said. But they said recent studies show that when photos are removed, outcomes for women and minorities improve.

The removal of photos by the military’s largest service is a tacit acknowledgment of how much race still plays a part in decisions about who should advance. The move comes a week after Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced that the Pentagon would look into how to increase the percentage of minority service members in its predominantly white officer corps.

In a video message to the Defense Department last week, Mr. Esper said that he was creating a board that would have six months to “develop concrete, actionable recommendations to increase racial diversity and ensure equal opportunity across all ranks — especially in the officer corps.”

But the Pentagon is taking these steps at the risk of alienating President Trump, who has made clear his disdain for efforts to address the concerns of African-American service members.

In the weeks since Mr. Floyd was killed and protests spread across the country, a handful of senior officers and Defense Department officials have sought to confront the military’s own past on race.

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