HVLA Welcomes Air Force's Disparity Review Confirming Widespread Inequities

Nation’s Top Ranking Hispanic Veterans Association Says Findings Highlight Historical Challenges Confronting Latino Service Members

Washington, DC – The Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance (HVLA) comprises senior former military officers from all branches of the armed forces and issued the following statement in the wake of the Air Force releasing its September 2021 Disparity Review.

“HVLA has produced data clearly showing there is a DoD-wide problem that our leaders have ignored for decades. We call for immediate White House attention and DoD-wide action to ensure that ALL our military services reflect the face of America.”

We are encouraged that the Air Force has conducted this disparity review, and HVLA urges corrective steps immediately to make long-overdue changes. Our response last January to the original Independent Racial Disparity Review (IRDR) published in December 2020 encouraged Air Force leadership to conduct a more thorough diversity review that examined chronic disparities Latinos and other minorities have endured. The September Disparity Review (DR) does that, and it affirms significant inequities faced by Latino service members.

Expressly, the findings confirm disparities in criminal justice, promotions, leadership opportunities, and more. Also, the report confirms these significant variances are identical to those reported in the December's (IRDR) that focused solely on black service members. As concerning is that these disparities are the same ones that HVLA has been calling out for many years, not just within the Air Force but across the entire Department of Defense. This situation begs the question, who has been minding our military? They either did not see the problems or chose to ignore them, at great detriment to our nation.

We are not surprised by some of the DR’s key conclusions. Latinos are underrepresented in E-5, E-6, E-9, and O-4 through O-6 and General (O-7 through O-10) promotions. Also, that Latino service members are 33-percent more likely to be subjects of Air Force criminal investigations. Neither are we surprised to read that, ‘in the words of the Guardians and Airmen, (there) is a lack of people that look like us, that can mentor us and advise us.’

HVLA agrees with the words of SAF/IG Lt Gen Sami Said, who stated, “There are many areas of overlap between the two [IRDR & DR], and we picked up on those. It’s going to make ongoing cause analysis applicable to this effort, rather than start from scratch.” The Air Force has yet to take any specific action to address disparities. However, we welcome the findings in the DR and support its recommendation that ‘Systemic, effective, and lasting solutions…will require relentless follow-through by all stakeholders, dogged emphasis by senior leaders, and most importantly, accountability.’

HVLA sees the bottom-line as the time for studies is over, and we need action.
Accountability is key!

About HVLA

The Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance (HVLA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of senior leaders, military and civilian, committed to overcoming the profound lack of Hispanic diversity and inclusion throughout the senior ranks of the DoD. Our mission is to advance the inclusion of Latinos across all leadership levels in the U.S. Armed Forces, military and civilian.

For more information contact David Cruz at (818) 689-9991 or davidcruzmedia@lulac.org

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