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Opposition to military diversity is badly misinformed | READER COMMENTARY

In this April 24, 2021, file photo a member of the U.S. Marine Corps stands on the tarmac as Marine One, with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden aboard, approaches Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware. The U.S. military must widen opportunity and improve advancement for Black service members, who remain vastly underrepresented in some areas, including among Air Force pilots and in the most senior ranks, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday, May 5. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
In this April 24, 2021, file photo a member of the U.S. Marine Corps stands on the tarmac as Marine One, with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden aboard, approaches Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware. The U.S. military must widen opportunity and improve advancement for Black service members, who remain vastly underrepresented in some areas, including among Air Force pilots and in the most senior ranks, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday, May 5. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (Patrick Semansky/AP)

A recent letter from Charles Campbell is full of misinformation that, unfortunately, seems to have become the norm for many people (“Military should not push political goals like diversity,” Aug. 2).

First, Mr. Campbell asserts that the military is the only government function that has the support of the country’s citizens. While a 2019 Gallop poll shows that 78% of the American public are satisfied with the U.S. Department of Defense, other federal government agencies are even more popular. A survey released by the Pew Research Center shows that 91% of the American public had a favorable view of the U.S. Postal Service. A 2020 poll showed that 96% of the public supports the Social Security Administration. A public satisfaction survey indicated that 93% of the American public was satisfied by the service that they received in Social Security field and hearings offices. A July 2020 independent survey of veterans showed 82% of veterans were satisfied with the health care that they received from the Veterans Administration. The facts show that the American public has a high regard for the work done by federal employees in many agencies besides the Department of Defense and the military who work there.

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Mr. Campbell also asserted that the current administration’s goal is “to fill every opening based on a list of racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, or religious qualifications regardless of the candidate’s competence.” Again, his assertion is false. Every federal agency fills internal promotions through a merit promotion system that includes a scoring system. An employee’s performance appraisal is weighted heavily in the score. I worked at the Social Security Administration for 45 years and know that the agency’s appraisal data showed that year after year, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and disabled employees scored substantially lower than white employees for a variety of reasons and were, consequently, disadvantaged in the competition for promotions. One group does get a substantial advantage in the federal hiring procedure — veterans. Veteran’s preference gives veterans a substantial advantage in getting hired in the federal government. I suspect that Mr. Campbell doesn’t object to that preferential strategy.

Finally, Mr. Campbell objects to a hiring system that is non-discriminatory. For his information, the 1964 Civil Rights Act requires all federal agencies and private businesses that employ at least 15 people to not discriminate in the hiring and promotion process. That’s the law, it’s been the law for 57 years, and the military is not exempt from that law.

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An April 30, 2021, CNBC/Survey Monkey Workforce Survey found that 78% of American workers want to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion. Those who believe that their employer has those values are happier than those who don’t, according to the survey. Mr. Campbell’s views appear to be held by a distinct minority of the population despite his assertions to the contrary. We should all be careful to acknowledge facts and not disinformation and use facts as the basis for important decisions regarding how we should move forward as a nation.

Witold Skwierczynski, Catonsville

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